Chorley got over the Barrow Bank Holiday Monday blues with a hard fought but thoroughly deserved three points against Brackley Town at the Chorley Group Victory Park Stadium.
But the win came at a cost as Adam Dodd dislocated his shoulder and Kyle Jacobs was shown a straight red.
In the early stages of the game Chorley dominated and took the lead on 18 minutes. James Dean earned the penalty, dusted himself down to take the kick then followed up smartly to convert the rebound after Dean Snedker saved his initial 12 yard effort.
Just three minutes later the impressive Dodd was helped from the field and soon after taken to hospital after falling awkwardly, the outcome being a dislocated shoulder meaning he’ll be missing for some weeks. Luckily we had the perfect substitute waiting to replace him in the fit again Adam Mather.
While the loss of Dodd could be mitigated against by using a substitute there was no such luxury when Jacobs left the field on 38 minutes. Following a spate of harsh tackles from the visitors that received either a lecture or at most a yellow card, Kyle was shown a straight red for a challenge where his studs showing, yet minimal contact was made as the right back attempted to pull out of the challenge at the last minute.
Garry reshuffled the pack to cover, with Dale Whitham moving to right-back and both Josh Hine and Darren Stephenson stepping back 10 yards to help in midfield.
Brackley, in a rare raid forward, through they’d taken immediate advantage when a header nestled in the corner of Sam Ashton’s goal, but the linesman’s flag fluttered for an offside to the delight of almost everyone in the impressive 917 attendance.
Despite being a man short Chorley continued to press forward and Josh Hine, using Dean as a decoy, was unlucky with a shot that ruffled the side netting.
After the restart Chorley still looked for a second, while Brackley had more chances at the other end.
Ashton saved well early on; then a Whitham free-kick from inside his own half sailed just over the Brackley bar with Snedker well beaten.
The big talking point of the second half was the lack of a red card for the visitors. Curtis McDonald was lucky not to be walking down the tunnel after raising his arms into the face of Hine who had the beating of his for pace, but despite loud shouts from the crowd a yellow was all the was awarded along with a free-kick just inches from the edge of the box, which came to nothing.
Brackley got back into the game, and not for the first time this season it was handed to the opposition on a plate. A poor goal kick from Ashton fell straight to a Mitchell Austin, whose pace took him through the defence that was caught flat footed by the poor kick and the loan signing from Cambridge United, a target for Flitcroft last season, slotted beyond Ashton to level the score.
With a man advantage the visitors would have been expected by many to seize the initiative, but the Magpies ten battled you couldn’t tell that there was an extra pair of legs in yellow socks on the pitch.
With the rain now pouring and the final whistle approaching a point apiece looked the most likely outcome until the 86th minute when the three remaining defender in black & white combined to grab the winner.
A superb deep Mather delivery from a left sided corner was nodded back across the area by skipper Andy Teague to his central defensive partner Tom Smyth whose firm header form 12 yards evaded everyone to find the onion bag.
Despite four minutes of added time the result was now not in any doubt and this three points lifts the Magpies back up to fourth place while Brackley drop to second bottom.
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Kyle Jacobs, Adam Dodd, Andy Teague, Tom Smyth, Jake Cottrell, Josh Hine, Dale Whitham, James Dean, Jack Dorney, Darren Stephenson
Subs: Paul Jarvis (Hine,81), Adam Roscoe (Dean, 89), Jack Lynch,Adam Mather (Dodd, 21), Laquon Esdaille-Biney
Goals: JAMES DEAN (17),Mitchell Austin (70), TOM SMYTH (86)
Red Card: KYLE JACOBS (38)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Dale WHitham, worked his socks off