Victory Park was breached for the first time in more than eight months as Stockport County edged a tight National League North encounter.
On February 16th Gloucester City won by the only goal of the game and fourteen games later Stockport matched that result to end the Magpies run of 10 wins and 3 draws.
Before the game kick-off Chorley were dealt a blow when Andy Teague was withdrawn from the squad after failing a late fitness test on a foot injury; Kieran Charnock moved up from the bench with Waqas Azam taking his seat in the dug-out.
County, with ex-Magpies Mark Ross, Max Cartwright, Chris Smalley, Danny Lloyd (McGoldrick) and Courtney Meppen-Walter in their ranks, were up for the game right from the kick-off while Chorley struggled to get anywhere near close to the levels of performance they’ve shows week-in-week-out so far this season.
In the second minute the travelling County supporters all shouted for a penalty, but the players and referee played on, and it wasn’t until the midway through the opening half that anything else of note occurred as neither side gave an inch.
On 21 minutes Sefton Gonzales dispossessed Ross outside the box but his cross failed to reach its target, then County hit on the break but Scott Leather repelled the advance.
On the half hour mark a County free-kick was headed narrowly over then two minutes later the visiting supporter’s cheers were cut short as a side-footed effort following a corner was chalked-off for an infringement spotted by the referee.
Chorley’s best chance of the half came on 36 minutes when Jason Walker crossed from the by-line picked out Jake Cottrell, but the midfielders header was straight at form Brig stopper Ben Hinchcliffe.
Cottrell was in the thick of it minutes later, receiving a yellow card for a solid tackle just outside the box.
Five minutes from the break Chorley’s corner choreography almost ended in a goal, but neither Walker or Charnock could convert their chances
After the interval, the game opened up a little and Stockport started the stronger.
In quick success, the visitors has three good chances; a header went over from a free-kick following a foul by Walker, an effort sailed over the bar and another went wide.
As County started to control the game Matt Jansen reacted with a tactical change. Scott Leather was withdrawn for Marcus Carver with the formation switching from 5-3-2 to 4-3-3.
The formation change looked to be taking an effect as the Magpies started to get forward more and Walker was unlucky when following up a corner to see his effort charged down, however, following the latter chance County hit on the break with a fine example of route-one football.
Keeper Hinchcliffe launched a goal-kick forward with caught out Matt Challoner. Sam Ashton hesitated and ex-Magpie Lloyd nipped in to score the only goal of the game – straight through the position Leather might have occupied!
After the goal, despite pressing Chorley couldn’t find a way through an ever-tightening County back-line, whilst the visitors were still dangerous on the break; another ex-Magpie, Meppen-Walter, going close with a header from a corner while Walker and Carver both had chances but failed to convert at the other end.
At the final whistle, it was County who were celebrating after 117 years of hurt – their first every victory over Chorley – let’s hope if 2133 before hit happens again!!!
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Matt Challoner, Paul Jarvis, Kieran Charnock, Scott Leather, Stephen Jordan, Adam Blakeman, Dale Whitham, Sefton Gonzales, Jason Walker, Jake Cottrell
Subs: Waqas Azam, Will Beesley (Jarvis, 82), Josh O’Keefe, Adam Roscoe (Blakeman, 90), Marcus Carver (Leather, 60)
Goal: Danny Lloyd (72)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Kieran Charnock, a superb performance for the late selection