Chorley recovered from Tuesday night’s cup heartache to motor to victory over Brackley Town
Things didn’t start too smoothly for Matt Jansen with captain Andy Teague, initially names in the starting eleven having to be replaced in the minutes leading up to kick-off after suffering a reaction to a knee injury; Keiran Charnock stepped into the team with Jack Lynch joining the subs bench.
In front of a healthy crowd of just short of 1000, Chorley, as they have in many games this season, dominated possession but as is too often the case finding the back of the next was a struggle, but Darren Stephenson fired home through the keeper’s legs in 77 minutes to secure a deserved three points.
In a goalless first half Sam Ashton, as he was for much of the 180 minutes against Northwich, was a spectator with Brackley rarely progressing into the final third of the pitch. It was the visitor’s defence that was tested for long periods with Sam Hornby by far the busier of the two keepers.
Marcus Carver, Keiran Charnock had the two clearest chances of the half, Carver sending a daisy cutter too close to Hornby and Charnock heading narrowly over the bar.
However the moment of the half was on the terrace, when a home supporter ran ten yards to connect with a perfect header to return the ball form the open Duke Street end, earning the Supporters Trust a £10 donation – header of the season!
After the break the Magpies continued to boss the ball and Stephenson went close on 57 minutes but his effort was deflected wide.
Charnock sent another header in but Hornby held well as Chorley continued to press for a winner.
Paul Jarvis and then Lewis Guy were brought called into action to freshen up the attack and the change worked. With Brackley pressed deeper Stephenson pounced in a Mark Ross centre to ‘meg’ the keeper with a fine strike.
Stephenson, a deserved man of the match winner from the sponsors, almost added a second with a stunning run down the left flank, but as he was about to pull the trigger the ball was flicked off his toes.
All teams have a spell of pressure, and Brackley had theirs but the defence did their job and Ashton probably enjoyed one of the easiest afternoons in his Chorley career.
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross, Max Cartwright, Keiran Charnock, Chris Doyle, Jake Cottrell, Josh Hine, Dale Whitham, Marcus Carver, Andy Bond, Darren Stephenson
Subs: Paul Jarvis (Hine, 62), James Dean, Lewis Guy (Bond, 70), Adam Roscoe (Guy, 90+2), Jack Lynch
Goal: DARREN STEPHENSON (77)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Darren Stephenson