Words: Jack Hepworth; Pictures: John Shirras
A spirited comeback saw Chorley FC Women come from 2-0 down to beat Durham Cestria 4-3 and progress in the FA Women’s National League Cup at Victory Park.
The visitors – who return to Victory Park for a league fixture next month – started the brighter and broke the deadlock when Lauren Robson volleyed home from an acute angle. The lead was doubled on 25 minutes when Chloe Ryan completed an incisive counter-attacking with a tidy finish from Lily Crosthwaite’s low cross.
The game turned on two Chorley goals either side of the interval. First, just moments before the half-time whistle, Megan Searson halved the deficit, flicking home from Grace Vella’s corner. In the first attack of the second half, half-time substitute Rachel Wood threaded Beth Donoghue in on goal with a perfectly weighted pass. Donoghue made no mistake, beating goalkeeper Brooke Mackain to level the scores.
For the majority of the second half, Chorley looked the more likely to claim a winner, but Durham posed a constant threat on the break. Chorley had goalkeeper Rachel Darbyshire to thank for three magnificent saves, two from powerful Jennifer Knowles free-kicks, and another from point-blank range after the hosts failed to clear a corner from the right.
With extra-time beckoning, the Magpies completed the turnaround with a goal of the highest quality on 86 minutes. Donoghue picked out Sophie Rotheram at the edge of the penalty area, and Rotheram’s cool finish into the far corner put the home side ahead.
After surviving some heavy pressure, Chorley looked to have made the game safe when Rebecca Kemp volleyed home in stoppage time, but there was still time for substitute Dannika Purdham to pull one back for Durham, to no avail.
Chorley: Darbyshire; Brindle, Searson, Topping, Kemp, Vella, Donoghue, Rawcliffe (Wood, 46′), Mills (Fenton, 76′), Rotheram, Worth. Subs not used: Walker.
HT: 1-2 FT: 4-3
Goals: Searson (45′), Donoghue (46′), Rotheram (86′), Kemp (90′); Robson (20′), Ryan (25′), Purdham (90’+2).
Next up: Yet another home game, this time the FA Cup second round tie with Brighouse Town at Victory Park. Sunday, December 1 at 2pm – £3 adults, £1 concessions & FREE under-12s/season ticket holders.