Chorltonian Ladies were left to rue missed chances in the sodden rain at the Stockport Sports Village as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Stockport County Blues.
Manager Paul Caddick was boosted by the return of no less than six players as Sarah Cuthbert, Jonna Malcomson, Lyndsey Turner, Elizabeth Livesey, Captain Shauna Edmondson and striker Jordana Shaw.
The visitors started brightly, despite the downpour, and almost took the lead after just three minutes when a corner found Cuthbert just wide at the far post and she headed just wide. Two minutes later Edmondson tested the keeper for the first time as she attempted to lob County keep Fran Singleton from 12 yards out but the County keeper was able to take the effort cleanly.
On nine minutes it was Chorlts goalkeeper Claire Jefferson’s turn to be tested as Jade Malone attempted a 30 yard effort on the half volley but the Chorlts keeper produced a good save to keep it out.
Chorlts continued to threaten in the final third as the midfield duo of Edmondson and Livesey continued to feed Jamilla Hodges and Debbie Price with the former almost latching onto a Turner through ball one-on-one but Singleton did well to smother the ball. A minute later the County keeper could do nothing about the next effort as Shaw did well to latch onto a wayward backwards header, racing towards goal before coolly drawing out the keeper and dinking it past her to give Chorlts a deserved lead on 21 minutes.
Chorlts continued to press forward for a second and on 32 minutes Hodges went to curl an effort inside of the post from the edge of the penalty area but she didn’t quite strike it cleanly allowing Singleton to scoop it up. Shaw continued to be a threat and on 39 minutes would have made it 2-0 but for an excellent save from Singleton as she parried away a ferocious volley from 12 yards out.
Given the life-line County took full advantage and were awarded a free kick at the edge of the Chorlts penalty area following a contentious handball. Lauren Digby levelled the scores with a peach of a free kick arrowed inside the far post to ensure both teams went into the half level.
The opening stages of the second half were much more even than the first half as County, buoyed by the goal went close with several long range efforts just wide of the post. However it was Chorlts who should have retaken the lead on 53 minutes when a superb through ball from Price released Shaw through on goal but this time she opted to shoot early firing into the keeper’s midriff. Three minutes later County almost took full advantage again as Jefferson came out of her goal only to see her clearance deflected into the path of a blue shirt but County couldn’t hit the target with a difficult effort from 20 yards out.
As the rain continued to pour, it was only the chances for either side that dried up as both sides struggled to find any impetus in an increasing midfield battle. However it was Chorlts who should have won it 7 minutes from time when Edmondson played in Hodges, who did superbly to jinx past two defenders, only to see her shot fire into the side netting at the near post from 6 yards out.
An important point for Chorlts, who will have felt that they should have had all three, but a draw felt like a fair result as both teams battled hard. Chorlts now travel to league leaders Merseyrail Bootle next Sunday at the Delta Taxis Stadium, home of Bootle FC.