Chorley kicked off their pre-season preparations with the traditional curtain raiser against Preston North End, played in honour of the Magpies former Chairman Jack Kirkland who was also a life-long PNE supporter.
Jack Dorney has the first sight of goal, pulling a sixth minute shot just wide of the post from 18 yards, but it was the visitors who hit the back of the net first, but the effort was in vain as Kevin Davies’ header was disallowed for offside.
Both sides pressed early on and it was Chorley who registered first on the score line when Josh Hine latched onto a James Dean pass and slid the ball under Jamie Jones in the PNE goal on sixteen minutes.
At the other end Sam Ashton was in fine form, keeping out ex-England front man Davies, but despite Preston’s best efforts it was Chorley who extended their lead ten minutes before the break.
Hine was the creator this time, swinging in a deep cross from the right to Dale Whitham, who unselfishly headed across the face of the goal to Darren Stephenson for a simple nod-in from close range.
Just before the break the tide began to turn and Scott Laird blasted in a worldie of a shot from 35 yards which even Manuel Neuer would have struggled to get close to.
At the break Preston changed their entire squad and within minutes of the restart the Magpies began to make their changes; the result of these substitutions was that Preston took a grip of the game; something you’d expect a side who went close to promotion to the Championship to do anyway!
Despite Ashton making two superb saves, Joe Garner brought the sides level from close range. The Chorley custodian initially punched clear a Keith Kean cross, then palmed a Will Hayhurst effort at full stretch onto the post but couldn’t prevent Garner from netting the rebound.
The pro-side started to press, with their their superior fitness levels starting to tell and some quality defending and keeping kept the visitors out.
Andy Little gave PNE the lead and ultimately with it the Jack Kirkland Trophy when the former Rangers striker rose highest to head home accurate a Hayhurst cross from the penalty spot.
Despite not winning the Trophy (again) the evening was a huge success for the Magpies in their first pre-season outing; next up on Saturday a short trip up the A6 to face Bamber Bridge.
Starting XI:Sam Ashton, Kyle Jacobs, Jake Cottrell, Andy Teague, Tom Smyth, Jack Dorney, Josh Hine, Dale Whitham, James Dean, Harry Winter, Darren Stephenson
Subs: Chris Almond, Dean Ashbury, Mark Ross, Luke Ashworth, Jamie Vermiglio + 1 trialist.
Goals: JOSH HINE (16), DARREN STEPHENSON (35), Scott Laird (42), Joel Garner (47), Andy Little (65)