Chorley made it a festive season to remember for everyone connected to the club with a Boxing Day Blockbuster performance against the long-time league leaders AFC Fylde who were previously unbeaten at their new plush home, Mill Farm.
In the opening stages in the Boxing Day encounter both sides opted for the jab to weigh up their opponents. Shaun Rowley was first tested with a difficult back pass and conceded a corner from which Fylde found the side netting at the second attempt following a block save by Rowley from ex-Magpie Darren Stephenson.
Rowley then gladly accepted a gift from Josh Langley in the form of a tame header when the hosts captain should have done better. Rowley then release a Chorley counter; Adam Blakeman’s shot was deflected and fell kindly to Marcus Carver, but the former at goal Fylde loanee was flagged offside.
Fylde, perhaps where having the upper hand of the early sparring, but following a Bond side-footed effort that rolled softly to Rowley the game started to turn.
Langley denied Carver who was chasing a Dale Whitham flick-on and from the resulting corner Chorley went agonisingly close to taking the lead. First Keiran Charnock saw a toe-poked effort blocked on the line, then as the ball was recycled a Carver header was acrobatically clawed away from under the bar by Rhys Taylor in the home goal.
Scott Leather swivelled in the area to unleash a shot, but the effort was cleared. Cottrell curled a speculative effort in from the right flank but it floated wide. Langley almost headed into his own goal, but it drifted just inches the wrong side of the upright, and from the resulting corner Adam Roscoe fire over the cross bar from 25 yards.
Fylde had a brief spell with the ball and Danny Rowe, the league’s top scorer, forced a corner from which Bond found the carpark.
Blakeman fired a low drive just beyond the far post then Rowe fired over for Fylde with a speculate effort from distance.
Fylde were then forced into their first change of the afternoon when a limping Stephenson was replaced by Bohan Dixon on 34 minutes, following a solid but fair tackle by Leather.
Chorley’s pressure finally paid off a minute before the break. Nathan Sheron picked the ball up just five yards from his own goal line. With no Fylde players putting the Fleetwood youngster under pressure he had time to pick out a long pass to Carver who flicked onto strike partner Jason Walker who cur inside and powered the ball home to give the visitors a deserved lead at the interval.
After the goal and before the break the action didn’t stop. Macauley Wilson was cautioned for a foul on Cottrell and Taylor gather a Walker snapshot well from close range.
Immediately after the restart Langley caught Carver and was lucky to go unpunished by the referee, but from the following free-kick Chorley doubled their lead.
Whitham’s delivery from just inside the Fylde half landed nicely for Walker who slammed home from close range for his and Chorley’s second of the afternoon, taking his personally tally for the season to ten.
Soon after the Fylde bench watched on nervously as keeper Taylor received treatment after landing awkwardly following a leap that took him over his own defender, luckily for the Coaster he was ok to continue.
Fylde, scorers of 66 goals in the previous 21 games, had so far looked toothless in attack, but started to throw bodies forward in the search for a way back into the game.
Wilson crossed into an empty area and Matt Challoner blocked a Rowe shot at the cost of a corner, then Rowley was fouled when gathering a cross under pressure.
Wilson headed over when it looked easier to hit the target and Bond shinned a shot straight to Rowley with Fylde’s usually potent frontline looked decidedly blunt.
Leather and Carver both had half chances following a Whitham free-kick, while at the other end Dixon ran through several challenges and shot from the edge of the area, but Rowley was aware and dived low to scoop the ball wide for a corner.
Entering the final twenty minutes, Fylde’s play become more desperate, but leagues meanest defence was on top form to earn their best clean sheet of the season, while the Magpies looked dangerous on the counter.
Walker had a chance for a hat-trick, but shot agonisingly wide from 18 yards.
Matt Hughes and Matt Blinkhorn where thrown on by Fylde manage Dave Challiner, more in desperation than hope.
Rowe, himself getting more frustrated as the game progressed, tried his luck from a wide free kick 30 yards out, but Rowley smothered the effort.
Rowe’s frustrations boiled over following a tackle by Challoner and s scuffle ensued with both players making their way into the referee’s book.
Leather picked up a card from a rambunctious tackle on Dan Bradley deep into added time, of which there were five minutes, and from the free kick Fylde when the closest to scoring as they did all afternoon with Bond rattling the crossbar and Rowe’s follow up being scrambled away.
At the final whistle the travelling supporters, number over 1000, erupted with delight while the Fylde faithful in the main already on the car parks!
The attendance figure at Mill Farm almost doubled The Coasters previous record attendance with over 1000 making the short trip to Kirkham virtually filling the two sections of the ground allocated to the Magpies, a superb effort by all, especially those who made the trip on foot raising funds for the Supporters Trust, you can support them by clicking here.
Starting XI: Shaun Rowley, Matt Challoner, Adam Blakeman, Nathan Sheron, Scott Leather, Adam Roscoe, Dale Whitham, Marcus Carver, Jason Walker, Jake Cottrell
Subs: Andy Teague (Carver, 90+4), Josh O’Keefe, Waqas Azam, Will Beesley (Walker, 89), Jordan Southworth
Goals: JASON WALKER (44, 47)
Chorleyfc.com Men of the Match: ALL OF THEM!