BOSTON UNITED 0 CHORLEY 0: Goalless, but Pilgrims pick up a point

Scott Garner.
Scott Garner.

Don’t let the lack of goals fool you - this was a belter.

Boston United and Chorley played out the finest 0-0 you will probably see this season, as the two opponents battled througout this thrilling end-to-end contest which had pretty much everything apart from a ball in a net.

The Pilgrims had the more clear-cut chances but the attacking mentality of the away side meant that United’s fantastic back line had to block, scrap, tackle and do everything in their powers to earn their clean sheet.

A thick second-half fog, mixed with tired legs, saw the second 45 minutes played at a slower pace than the opening half. But at the end of the day, both sides had chances to win it - although neither deserved to lose.

Just one week earlier goals from Dayle Southwell and Kaine Felix saw Boston leave Victory Park with a 2-1 success in the Vanarama North following a performance that was more convincing than the scoreline suggests, and which ended the Magpies’ unbeaten home record.

As a result, Dennis Greene named a completely unchanged squad while the away side made six alterations to their starting XI.

Goalkeeper Danijel Nizic and influential skipper Andrew Teague missed out due to injuries picked up eight days earlier, while burly target man James Dean sat out due to suspension. Harry Winter and Paul Jarvis both dropped down to the bench while Jack Dorney didn’t travel with the squad.

Chorley’s Chris Simm had the first swipe at goal of the game from distance, but what his strike had in power it lacked in accuracy.

A clever turn from Kyle Dixon appeared to hand the Boston man a free run at goal at the other end, until a superb covering tackle from Mark Ross - who scored Chorley’s consolation last week - stopped him dead in his tracks.

Some frantic defending then saw the Pilgrims somehow save themselves from going behind.

When keeper Joel Dixon miscontrolled Liam Marrs’ back pass, Rene Steer was forced to hack Darren Stephenson’s tight-angled effort off the line. As Simm set himself to strike the loose ball towards the keeper-less goal Zak Mills managed to nip in first and clear.

Carl Piergianni, Marrs and Mills, assisted by Scott Garner, were then called upon to make a number of interceptions, blocks and tackles as the away side piled on the pressure, wave after wave.

But on the break the hosts had their chances. Southwell saw two headers flicked over the bar while both he and Felix had strikes deflected away for corners.

While the Magpies enjoyed plenty of possession in attack, Stephenson’s angled effort - which he dragged wide - was their best chance in the final 20 minutes of that first half.

Boston, meanwhile, were kept at bay by a superb reaction save by the wrong-footed Aaron Grundy, who clawed away Southwell’s header from close range after Mark Jones’ strike had smashed against the crossbar.

The final chance of the half fell to Southwell yet again. However, his volley left Grundy rooted but relieved as the ball trickled wide of the post.

The second half began with chances aplenty, on a pitch covered with a thick fog.

United almost took the lead when Adam Roscoe’s clearance struck teammate Chris Doyle on the backside and squirmed just off target.

Garner then connected with Greg Tempest’s corner and Southwell’s drilled cross, but both efforts whizzed wide of the mark.

In response, Roscoe’s free kick forced Joel Dixon into a save.

When Tempest met Felix’s deep cross at the back post his volley didn’t have enough power to trouble Grundy, who collected well.

Some more desperate defending saw Dixon deny Josh Hine from a one-on-one situation, while Simm’s effort was cleared off the line by Marrs.

With seven minutes remaining Chorley substitute Harry Winter saw a straight red card for crunching into Marrs.

And that was it, the away side sensibly took a step back and decided to hold on to a point.

UNITED: J. Dixon, Mills, Steer, K. Dixon, Garner, Piergianni, Marrs, Tempest, Southwell (Thomas 75), Jones, Felix; Subs (not used): Newsham, Marshall, Hollingsworth, Fallah.

CHORLEY: Grundy, Ross, Mather, Doyle, Smyth, Cottrell, Hine, Whitham, Simm (Almond 81), Roscoe (Winter 55), Stephenson; Subs (not used): Jarvis, Lynch, Mulholland.

Ref: Declan Ford.

Att: 1,135 (63).