Chorley won through to the final qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time in twenty-one years after a superb local derby victory over Bamber Bridge.
With the turnstiles closed at twenty-to-three, all 2241spectators were ready for the action in a packed Sir Tom Finney Stadium and recorded a record attendance for a competitive fixture on the ground; only the Euro 96 warm up game against the Czech Republic beat today’s gate.
After a tentative start Chorley took a grip of the game. Andy Teague, back in the side following injury, hit a shot wide on the turn, keeper Lee Dovey deflected a Darren Stephenson effort wide, James Dean nodded over and then soon after Josh Hine lashed an shot across the face of goal.
Brig then woke up and from a corner a Joseph Mullen cross was deflected wide then Ally Waddecar shot over the bar.
Dale Whitham volleyed over when he should have done better but the deadlock was finally broken on 23 minutes when Dean capitalised on some poor defend to hammer home.
After going behind Brig pressed. Teague had to be at his best to deny Mullen then Waddecar forced a corner.
Whitham received a yellow card for a foul on Andy Bell as the Magpies midfield struggled to regain control of the game, but despite being on top for a spell, Sam Ashton’s goal was not threatened and George Bowyers effort was straight into the keepers’ arms.
Hine volleyed over then Dovey saved from Stephenson as the half drew to a close with the visitors a goal up.
Just as the game was about to restart Brig were forced into a substitution as Dovey, who had been struggling following a collision with Teague on 15 minutes, was clearly struggling to even walk to his goal and had to be replaced by sub-custodian Stuart Barton.
After another tentative start, the first real opening of the half was the second goal, as defender Tom Smyth headed home an Adam Mather corner to double the advantage.
Two minutes later and it was almost three. Monday night’s hat-trick hero Stephenson was unlucky not to get on the score sheet as his header rattled the woodwork on the hour mark.
Six minutes later though it was game on; Waddecar rolled the ball over the line after beating Ashton to the ball.
Despite getting a goal back, Brig struggled to threaten again as the two division gap between the two teams started to tell.
Whitham curled an effort around the post, Barton saved well from Hine then Stephenson after evading a Mahoney challenge saw his drive rebound back off the foot of the post!
At the other end from a Waddecar corner Paul Alexander tried to pick out an unmarked Bell at the far post, but Bell couldn’t get on the end of his headed pass.
Ten minutes from time it was game-over as Hine slide in to finish from close range from a quality ball in from the excellent Jack Dorney then three minutes on and Stephenson netted a deserved goal, rounding the keeper to stroke the ball home following and exquisite pass from sub Paul Jarvis.
So at the final whistle it was the Magpies who were the winners on the pitch, but praise must go to our neighbours Bamber Bridge for being excellent hosts for the afternoon - seeing the guys rushing through both sets of supporters in a bumper bar to with barrels of beer to keep the temporary bar stocked up was a joy to see!!!
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Kyle Jacobs, Adam Mather, Andy Teague, Tom Smyth, Adam Roscoe, Josh Hine, Dale Whitham, James Dean, Jack Dorney, Darren Stephenson
Subs: Chris Doyle, Harry Winter (Dean, 82), Astley Mulholland (Hine, 87), Chris Almond, Paul Jarvis (Whitham, 82), Jack Lynch, Aaron Grundy
Att: 2241 (a full house at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium)
Goals: JAMES DEAN (23), TOM SMYTH (58), Alistair Waddecar (67), JOSH HINES (80), DARREN STEPHENSON (86)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Jack Dorney, outstanding in midfield