Saturday September 14th, 3pm
FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round
In a hard fought match where endeavour and hard work where required ahead of flair and creativity, Chorley edged proceedings and advanced to the next round of the FA Cup at the expense of hosts FC United of Manchester.
Dale Whitham netted the winner in the 62nd minute, sliding home beyond home keeper James Spencer, after excellent play from man of the match contender Paul Jarvis, however the talking point and perhaps turning point of the match occurred seven minutes earlier when Tom Davies was red carded for the reds for a crude challenged on former red Jake Cottrell.
The opening exchanges where of a stand-off nature with neither side willing or able to commit numbers going forward. Chorley were often guilty of defending too deep and allowing FCUM time and space on the ball; and as a result FCUM edged the tight first half on chances. When they came though they rarely threatened Sam Ashton’s goal with shots from distance going high and wide, however one mix-up between Ashton and Andy Teague almost let the reds in.
Chorley’s best efforts of the opening 45 were no better, Tom Baker threatened the corner flag with one effort in the 25th minute and Whitham seeing a snap shot go narrowly over when trying to volley from 25 yards with the keeper well out of his area.
Play was better after the break and Darren Stephenson, back after injury, blasted wide from close range early on.
FC United left back Lee Neville was yellow carded for hacking down his former teammate Cottrell on 53 minutes, then two minutes later Davies hit Cottrell harder and received his marching orders from referee William Smallwood.
With numerical advantage, you might have expected the Magpies to push forward for a winner, and they did. Josh Hine’s pace took him through on goal but an excellent recovering tackle thwarted him at the last moment, then Stephenson and Jarvis both missed the ball with a guilt edge chance begging.
It wasn’t all one way traffic. Following a foul by Keiran Walmsley, returning to the side for the first time this season in place of injury Mark Ross, the FCUM free kick resulted in a header coming back off the bar before being cleared.
Whitham headed a cross narrowly over, but five minutes later came the goal. Jarvis won the ball and just inside the FCUM half and advanced toward goal. Under pressure from two defenders the former Fylde player slide the perfect ball to Whitham who to poked the ball beyond Spencer into a now empty goal, sending the travelling supporters wild.
With a goal and a man advantage Chorley now had a comfortable cushion, but perhaps took this too far as FCUM brought on additional firepower in striker Mike Norton and ex-Magpie Matty Walwyn as the game progressed in the search for an equaliser, while James Dean replaced Stephenson in attack to freshen the Magpies front line.
Ashton tipped one cross over the bar within a minute of the goal as they searched for a way back into the game.
Captain Andy Teague almost scored the goal of his career with a deft flick from a Jarvis cross at the front post, the type of goal Real Madrid pay silly money for, but thankfully for the sanity of the dressing room the flick was blocked on the line.
With the 90th minute approaching Ashton did well to palm the final chance of the game wide as a powerful cross from the left flicked Teague’s head at the last minute.
At the final whistle the Chorley players and supporters went wild celebrating only Garry Flitcroft’s second FA Cup win in his four years in charge!
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Keiran Walmsley, Adam Mather, Andy Teague, Keil O'Brien, Dale Whitham, Josh Hine, Tom Baker, Paul Jarvis, Darren Stephenson, Jake Cottrell
Subs: Paul O'Neill, James Dean (Stephenson, 75), Simon Wiles, Jamie Vermiglio, Alex Meaney, Aaron Grundy
Goal: DALE WHITHAM (62)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Adam Mather, not much of a mention in the match report, but was excellent defensively and when coming forward