Mixed return for skipper Chorley

Ben Chorley. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Chorley. Picture: Joe Pepler

Not quite the comeback to the Pompey defence Ben Chorley was anticipating when handed his first-team return.

A draw at Bury, six matches now unbeaten under Andy Awford in his second spell as caretaker boss – yet on the flipside four goals conceded.

Having missed the previous six games, Chorley lined up in a defence which was torn apart by the impressive Hallam Hope, who bagged a hat-trick.

Regardless, Awford’s gutsy troops grabbed two goals in the final three minutes to clinch an improbable 4-4 Gigg Lane scoreline.

It prompted even the home fans among the 4,759 present to applaud the never-say-die Blues players off at the final whistle.

For Chorley, though, there was disappointment in the team’s defensive showing.

He said: ‘It was a topsy-turvy game, very much a match of two halves.

‘In the first half they were totally dominant, I think in the second half we were totally dominant.

‘They may have had a bit of possession but in terms of chances and balls into their box we were pretty dominant after the break.

‘But as a unit we didn’t defend well, as a back four we didn’t defend well, myself very much included in that.

‘Without doubt, though, the team showed fight.

‘The prime example is Sonny (Bradley) who came on as a striker, probably never played up front before and I’ve never seen him play it in training but he hasn’t moaned, he has run around and given everything.

‘Pat did well and used his experience, Foggy kept going, I can speak about everyone,

‘It seemed like it was end-to-end, the ball goes into the box and it’s a goal, you get those games.

‘To be coming back after not playing for five weeks, it was a rude awakening!’

Chorley was partnered with Bondz N’Gala in the centre of defence and made skipper for the fixture, as five changes were made.

It was also the 31-year-old’s maiden appearance under Awford, with Jack Whatmough, Sonny Bradley and Joe Devera selected in recent weeks.

And Chorley admitted it took him a while to adjust.

He added: ‘In the first half I needed a gas mask, I couldn’t get my breath early on, no excuses.

‘I’ve been training hard but there’s nothing like replicating playing football, as I found out on Saturday.

‘I felt so much better in the second half. So, so, so much better.

‘You get your second breath, your legs have eased off, your decisions are better and as a team I felt we all did better.’

– NEIL ALLEN