On a cold blustery Saturday afternoon Chorley crossed the Pennines to face lowly Stocksbridge Park Steels writes James Wilson.
From the kick off it was evident the conditions were going to play a big part in this game and with Andy Teague losing the coin toss Chorley would be playing into a very strong in the first half.
Neither team could get a hold on the game with play being regularly broken up in the midfield and long balls either coming up short or travelling to far.
It was Stocksbridge who struck first when an optimistic ball was played into the box and Bradley Grayson was the first to react placing the ball past the outstretched Sam Ashton. This seemed to put a spring in the step of the opposition who were using the wind to there advantage, Stocksbridge were rewarded when Chorley's defence failed to clear another ball into the box allowing Danny South to score on 30 minutes. Chorley did have there chances in the first half but were unable to test the Stocksbridge keeper.
Into the second half and the Chorley fans were hoping the weather would now favour there team and this seem to be the case as Chorley pressed forward, however Stocksbridge were not going to give Chorley there own way. An opportunist punt into the box and a poor bounce had the ball strike the arm of captain Andy Teague which the referee judged to be a penalty. Fortunately for Chorley penalty was missed with the ball being dragged to the left of the goal.
This appeared to raise the hopes of the players who then started to pass the ball around with more confidence.
On 60 minutes and more pressure Paul Jarvis picked the ball up on the left hand side before cutting inside and powering a shot towards goal that toke a slight deflection finishing in the back of the net.
From this the Chorley players continued to press forward at every opportunity and where rewarded in 67 minutes when the ball was again in the back of the net from Keil O'Brien.
With the Stocksbridge players appearing to tire Flitcroft replaced Paul Jarvis with Darren Stephenson who from the moment he came on tormented the Stocksbridge right hand side. Chances came but the Stocksbridge keeper pulled off a number of fine saves to deny Chorley a third. The best of these came from a Simon Wiles shot who had replaced Adam Roscoe on 87 minutes. The ball looked to be floating into the far top corner only for the keeper to get a hand to the ball at the very last minute.
Chorley's best chance to seal the 3 points came in the dying seconds of the game when Josh Hine found himself in acres of space 8 yards out not realising the time he had and the ball was scooped over the bar.