Great win for Chorley away at Barwell

Skipper Andy Teague wins a header
Skipper Andy Teague wins a header

Chorley made an excellent start to their Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division campaign by recording a 3-1 victory at Barwell.

The Leicestershire-based side have been transferred from the southern section of the footballing pyramid, where they missed out on the play-offs last season by one point.

But a brace from Darren Stephenson and a spectacular strike from Dale Whitam meant Chorley secured a much-deserved three points.

The wind played a huge factor at Barwell and Garry Flitcroft’s side had to play against it in the first half.

After just six minutes, skipper Andy Teague was elbowed in the face but the match officials missed the collision and waved play on.

Chorley came close to taking the lead after 10 minutes as a Tom Baker free-kick was met by the head off Dale Whitam, which flew into the back of the net only for the officials to chalk it off for offside.

Josh Hine made his full debut and saw an early effort blocked by home goalkeeper Liam Castle.

The Magpies showed their dominance and Mark Ross, who was making his 100th appearance for Chorley, saw a shot saved by Castle.

With 10 minutes to go in the first half, Barwell had their first real opportunity but Magpies keeper Sam Ashton saved well down to his right.

But on the stroke of half-time, Stephenson after an earlier effort was saved, calmly slotted home after he latched on to a throughball from Hine.

Ashton saved well just after the interval but Chorley continued to press as Carlos Roca, Whitam and Stephenson all saw efforts saved.

But in the 64th minute, it was disaster for Chorley.

A sloppy tackle from Baker saw Barwell’s Mark Albrighton (not the Aston Villa player) capitalise on the free-kick touching home Connor Gudger’s cross.

Despite the equaliser, Chorley continued to press and with the wind behind them, Flitcroft introduced the fresh legs of Paul Jarvis, who replaced Roca, while Tom Ince came on for Hine.

Barwell picked up three cautions in the space of five minutes as they struggled to cope with the pace of Jarvis and Ince.

With time running out the pressure finally took its tole on Barwell as Stephenson bagged his second of the game.

Receving the ball with his back to goal, the former Bradford City man turned and fired in a shot which wrong-footed Castle to put the Magpies ahead.

Chorley then pressed to add a third with winger Ince firing over a Jarvis cross beforeChorley sealed the win in the 90th minute through an excellent strike from Whitam.

He slammed home an effort from 18 years which left Castle no chance and secured a valuable three points for the Magpies on the opening day of the season.

Chorley now take on Ashton United tonight (Tuesday) at Victory Park.

The kick off is 7.45pm.