Match Report: Chorley 2-0 Bradford Park Avenue

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A despondent Avenue suffered a 2-0 defeat to Chorley to further dent their fading play-off hopes.

Mark Bower made two initial changes to the side that lost to Stockport County on Good Friday, but a late change to the starting line-up saw Adam Smith make his first start for the club in place of Javan Vidal. Jamie Spencer’s impact from the bench against the Hatters earned him a place in the starting eleven and Danny Boshell reclaimed his spot in the centre of midfield. Adam Boyes dropped to the bench and Oli Johnson missed out altogether through suspension.

The home side dominated large portions of the first-half, with Avenue struggling to catch many glimpses of goal.

Alex Newby was the first to call Steven Drench into action, forcing the goalkeeper to beat away a powerful drive from the edge of the box.

A breakdown in communication between Drench and Luca Havern almost allowed Marcus Carver to shoot from mere yards out but the striker was challenged quickly, and the ball was hacked clear.

Avenue’s only chances of the half fell to Frank Mulhern and Jamie Spencer. The latter blasted over from just inside the box and Mulhern’s low drive from a free-kick was held by Matt Urwin.

Josh O’Keefe had an opportunity to fire the hosts ahead when the ball fell kindly for him on the edge of the box, but his drilled effort flew wide.

Chorley were, however, rewarded for their continuous pressure when Carver steered past Drench after Newby had provided a pinpoint cross from the right.

The half-time whistle was music to the ears of Avenue players, who seemed frustrated by their inability to carve open more opportunities and their failure to hold out in the latter stages of the opening 45 minutes.

Avenue found themselves 2-0 down shortly after the restart as an Andy Teague cross picked out an unmarked Jason Walker, who directed his header past Drench with no defender around him.

The visitors continued to struggle to test Urwin, and both Mulhern and Wayne Brooksby glanced headers wide of the post.

Mark Bower’s side knocked on the door repeatedly in the second-half, but Chorley’s defence held strong, leading to praise for the Magpies’ backline in the Avenue manager’s post-match interview.

The Magpies could have extended their lead further in stoppage-time but Drench made a tremendous save to deny Carver’s low drive.

Nicky Wroe and debutant Antoine Remi Recizac both saw long-range efforts blocked before they could reach goal in the late stages, which was symbolic of the afternoon that the Yorkshire side had had.

Avenue have a chance to respond on Saturday, as they face strugglers Leamington at Horsfall Stadium. The action kicks-off at 3pm.

Chorley: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague (c), Leather, Jordan, Newby (Wilson 72’), O’Keefe, Carver, Walker (Hughes 82’), Cottrell (Molyneux 89’).

 Unused substitutes: Gregory, Brewster.

 Bradford Park Avenue: Drench, Ross, Hill (Boyes 69’), Wroe (c), Killock, Havern, Brooksby, Boshell (Recizac 87’), Mulhern, Smith (Toulson 45’), Spencer.

 Unused substitutes: Hall.

 Referee: Steve Copeland