Chorley’s pre-season home fixtures came to an end last night after a mad five minutes lead to 1-2 defeat against a Blackburn Rovers XI.
Chorley lead for the majority of the game as Hugo Fernandez turned the ball into his own net in the 23rd minute but late strikes from Patrick Antelmi, and Fernandez meant the magpies suffered a cruel defeat.
Chorley lined with a probable starting XI which will be making the trip away to Barwell in the first game of the new Evo-Stik League Northern Premier Division.
Chorley off to a bright start with Stephenson showing his pace and power but his cross rebounded just wide off Rovers defender Toni Paul.
Then in the seventh minute Chorley had the ball in the back of the net, Josh Hine skipped past Kellen Daly and slotted past a helpless Matt Urwin.
But referee Peter Bankes seemed to be the only man in the ground that thought Hine committed a foul and the goal was chalked off.
Rovers gradually started to get in the game with Spaniard Fernandez looking the most likely threat,
But it was John O’Sullivan who had the best Blackburn chance in the first half, he made Kiel O’Brien, Kieran Walmsley and Carlos Roca look helpless
but the young Republic of Ireland U-21 International fired wide.
Then came the Chorley goal, Stephenson powered down the left hand side and hit a shot come cross across goal leaving a watching Fernandez helpless as it rebounded off his leg and into the back of the net and gave Chorley the lead in the 23rd minute.
Both sides had half chances but both goalkeepers had little to do before referee Bankes blew for half time.
Chorley started the second half like they played first and Josh Hine broke in the final third but his strike was saved by Urwin.
As the hour mark passed the Chorley subs started to come as Porya Ahmadi, Ben Proctor and Tom Ince were all introduced.
Paul Jarvis, Mark Ross and Paul O’Neill replace Walmsley, Teague and Jake Cottrell and Blackburn came more and more into the game.
The substitutions seemed to unsettle the Magpies and this showed in the 86th minute.
Nothing more than a 60 yard punt was his hit forward but Mark Ross was caught out positionally at right back, Antelmi cut inside behind him and struck a sweet shot to Sam Ashtons right leaving him no chance.
Then disaster for Chorley as three minutes later Blackburn struck again, more defensive frailties were seen in the back line and a cross from Rovers substitute Paulo George was met at the back post by Fernandez who grabbed a much deserved goal and sealed a 1-2 victory for Rovers.
Chorley Manager Garry Flitcroft was left frustrated but insisted the games are all about fitness he said: “The performance was pleasing up until all the substitutions.
“Mark Ross was at fault for our first goal and I really wasn’t happy with his positioning, but the games are all about fitness and I’m more than happy with the way we will be starting against Barwell.”
Chorley: Sam Ashton, Kieran Walmsley, Adam Mather, Andy Teague, Keil O’Brien, Dale Whitham, Carlos Roca, Tom Baker, Darren Stephenson, Josh Hine, Jake Cottrell
Subs: Paul O’Neil, Paul Jarvis, Tom Ince, Mark Ross plus trialists.
Blackburn Rovers: Matt Urwin, Toni Paul, Raheem Hanley, John O’Sullivan, Kellen Daly, Aaron Tumwa, Hugo Fernandez, Tim Payne, Patrick Antelmi, Devarn, Green, Robbie Cotton.
Subs: Curtis Haley, Denniz Pero, Paulo George, Bradley Bauress, Edinho Junior, David Raya