by Saskia Bowes
The magic of the FA Cup was not lost on Chorley who looked to reach the second round of the competition. The opponents on the day were Stockport, a team who Chorley had faced twice in pre-season.
After an impeccably observed minute silence, the game started in a scrappy fashion with neither side getting a real foothold in the game. Stockport were trying to play the long ball over the top of our defence, but Kerry Nickson and Megan Searson were reading it well with goalie Rachel Darbyshire also being alert to sweep away any danger. Stockport were restricted to long shots in the opening period.
Chorley almost gained the lead after 25 minutes. A brilliant through ball from Laura Walker found Mel Ball who rounded the goalkeeper, but the angle was too narrow and she fired into the side netting. Katy Morris, who looked lively throughout, then tried her luck from 30 yards but her effort flew wide of the target. Chorley dominated possession as the half time break approached. Rebecca Kemp was having a lot of joy on the right side and her cross was almost turned in by Grace Vella, but the midfielder couldn’t get the required contact.
Chorley came out of the blocks quickly after half time with sub Chloe Wild showing her pace to link up well with Ball in the opening exchanges. Chorley took the lead shortly after the restart. Searson arrowed a ball into Kemp who headed beyond the full back and whipped in a dangerous cross which Ball swooped to head home. Chorley continued to dominate, with Lisa Topping showing some lovely skill on the left but Ball couldn’t quite connect to her cross.
Stockport had a chance to equalise on 60 minutes when striker Chloe Mapp had a free header in the box but Darbyshire pushed the ball away to safety. Then, with just minutes to go, Stockport equalised. A long ball was thumped into the box and Mapp was able to stab beyond Darbyshire.
Heartbreakingly, Stockport scored the winner with the last kick of the game. Claire O’Reilly struck the free kick which took a wicked deflection and nestled into the bottom corner.
A bitterly disappointing defeat for Chorley who deserved more from the game.
Chorley: Darbyshire; Mitchell, Nickson, Searson, Wood (Wild, 46′); Kemp (Bowes, 83′), Topping, Walker (c) (Stocks, 75′) Vella, Morris; Ball.
HT 0-0 / FT 1-2
Goals: Ball (50’); Mapp (85’), O’Reilly (90’)
Back to Victory Park on Sunday for another cup match; the Lancashire FA Challenge Cup quarter-final against league foes Burnley (2pm).
Admission is only £3 adults, £1 concessions & FREE for accompanied under-12s!