Dale Whitham scored two excellent individual goals as Chorley deservedly claimed three points against Stockport County at Edgeley Park writes Oliver Smith.
The Magpies totally outplayed Alan Lord’s side throughout the 90 minutes, and on another day they could have score four or five had it not been for the heroics of County goalkeeper Danny Hurst.
Victory in the Vanarama Conference North rounds off a fine week for Garry Flitcroft’s side as they were crowned Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy champions at the start of the week.
Whitham’s first came in the 31st minute as he whipped a free-kick around the wall leaving Hurst stranded and his second was the pick of the bunch as he executed a delicate lob from 35 yards in the 74th minute.
Hurst put in a fine performance between the posts for County denying, Josh Hine and Harry Winter on a number of occasions.
The visitors were by far the brighter in the opening stages, with Hine in particular causing problems down the right.
In just the third minute, County goalkeeper Hurst was called into action, brilliantly denying Hine from six-yards with an outstretched left arm.
The County shot stopper was in the action once again minutes later blocking Hine’s right footed effort, but he couldn’t do anything about the rebound as the latter rattled his shot off the inside of the post before Dean saw his snap shot cleared off the line.
County struggled to keep hold of possession and the trio of Adam Roscoe, Whitham and Winter were particularly impressing in the middle of midfield.
Chorley continued to dominate and shortly after the half hour they took the lead.
After being awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box due to Tunji Moses’ trip on Winter, Whitham stepped up showing great skill curling his set-piece around the wall, leaving Hurst unmoved and sending the travelling Chorley faithful wild.
Lord’s side registered their first attempt on goal in the 34th minute as Sam Ashton gathered Danny Glover’s 35-yard free-kick but that was the best it got for the hosts as Moses blasted an ambitious volley over the bar, five minutes before the interval.
County improved slightly in the opening period of the second-half but Ashton again was untested.
Chorley then had an action packed few minutes as Hurst acrobatically tipped wide Dean’s header before Roscoe nodded over the resulting corner.
Prior to that, the Magpies had penalty claims waved away by referee Gareth Mellor after Jack Dorney took a tumble from a Jack Ryan challenge.
Chris Doyle stung the palms of Hurst with a diving header before the County goalkeeper comfortably caught Roscoe’s headed effort from eight yards.
Aaron Burns was introduced at the expense of Dean, who put in a tireless performance up front, in the 68th minute and six minutes later, a moment of class silenced the frustrated County supporters.
Hurst did well acrobatically diving to his right to push wide Winter’s shot from the edge-of-the-box, the ball was punted clear but picking up possession was Whitham and from 35-yards he delicately looped a shot over the back pedalling County ‘keeper and into the net.
Sub Burns was unlucky when shooting over from the edge of the box and Whitham drove a shot inches wide of the post four minutes before the end.
Hine, who was excellent throughout the game could and should have bagged a deserved goal but after bypassing O’Halloran he could only shoot at the legs of Hurst.
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross, Adam Mather, Andy Teague, Chris Doyle, Adam Roscoe, Josh Hine, Dale Whitham, James Dean, Jack Dorney, Harry Winter
Subs: Aaron Burns (Dean, 68), Jack Lynch (Winter, 84), Adam Dodd (Mather, 88) Matty Flynn, Chris Almond
Goals: DALE WHITHAM (31, 74)
Att: 3401 (including 298 away fans)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Dale Whitham, two superb goals to seal the points