Whitham’s strike proves decisive as Chorley end Saints’ run

Brackley Town's Steve Diggin is squeezed out by Chorley keeper Richie Branagan and Scott Leather
Brackley Town's Steve Diggin is squeezed out by Chorley keeper Richie Branagan and Scott Leather
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Brackley Town’s impressive run was halted by Chorley in Saturday’s Vanarama National League North clash.

Chorley won a finely balanced game 1-0 at St James Park where captain Dale Whitham’s excellent finish just before halftime took the visitors into joint second place in the table.

Saints remain in eighth place but with games in hand following a contest between two closely matched sides that produced few clear cut chances. A battling performance by the home side meant that the outcome was in doubt right to the final whistle.

Saints enjoyed the better of the opening half hour with Jimmy Armson, Lee Ndlovu and Steve Diggin especially lively. Ritchie Branagan pawed away Armson’s cross under pressure from Ndlovu and then saved well from Ndlovu to keep his side in the game before Chorley asserted themselves towards the end of the first half.

That spell of pressure produced the deciding goal on the stroke of halftime when Whitham drove in a low shot which beat Laurie Walker and found the bottom corner of the net.

Despite going behind, Saints dominated the second half and were patient, seeking to find a way through. But they were ultimately frustrated by Chorley’s well organised and determined defending.

Debutant keeper Branagan saved Glenn Walker’s free-kick, Ndlovu hit a fierce effort that the keeper beat away and only a goalmouth scramble cleared a late chance as the visitors held on to secure an important away victory.