Russell the destroyer as Chorley defeated in Challenge Trophy final

Chris Almond
Chris Almond
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Andy Russell returned to haunt his former club grabbing a goal and an assist as AFC Fylde were crowned Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy Champions.

Russell gave his side the lead in the 25th minute before James Dean drew Chorley four minutes before the break.

Harry Winter then gave the Coasters the lead on the stroke of half time before two late strikes from Michael Barnes sealed the cup victory for Fylde.

On a crisp evening at the Reebok Stadium played infront of 2384, the opening stages saw both sides saw plenty of possession early on without creating any real chances.

The first effort on goal came after 10 minutes, Paul Jarvis surging forward from left back winning a corner and from the resulting set piece skipper Andy Teague rose above everybody to be denied by a combination of Ben Hinchcliffe and the crossbar.

Chorley continued to press and two minutes later could have taken the lead, Jarvis whipping in a corner which was met by Adam Roscoe at the back post but he failed to convert from two yards with Hinchcliffe left stranded.

Buoyed by a strong travelling contingent Chorley continued to attack the Fylde goal, again from another set piece however Teague could only head into the side netting.

Fylde grew into the game with Chorley born Barnes causing plenty of problems down the left wing.

Brad Barnes then flashed an effort well wide of goal before Matty Blinkhorn saw a volley from six yards deflected inches wide for a corner.

And it was from the corner that the goal came, the ball was flicked on to Barnes who produced a fine save from the onrushing Grundy.

The rebound fell to Blinkhorn whose snap shot was blocked on the line but on hand was former Chorley defender Russell to scramble the ball home.

Despite falling behind, Chorley continued to attack and looked to make use of the wide Reebok pitch.

Ex Macclesfield Town man Simon Wiles sending Dean through but the latter could only fire wide of the post.

Blinkhorn then saw a header deflected wide of goal by O’Brien after yet more fine work down the right hand side from Barnes.

As the half neared the end the Magpies, who were unfortunate to be behind continued to press and Dean had a header cleared off the line for a corner following a Hinchcliffe error.

From the set piece brought the equaliser, Dean rose above everybody and powered a header home to send the travelling Magpies faithful wild.

But on the stroke of half time Chorley again fell behind for a second time, after excellent work from Russell down the left wing the former’s cross round an unmarked Harry Winter on the edge of the area and he slammed the ball home past a helpless Grundy.

The Magpies started the better of the two sides but were dealt a blow on the hour mark as Paul Jarvis had to be withdrawn through injury.

The second half was nothing like the first, both sides struggling to create chances with both keepers largely untested.

Barnes then found Caspar Hughes with a pinpoint pass but the latter could only find the side netting with his drilled effort on goal.

Dean, a major threat in the air all night then headed wide from a Kieran Walmsley cross.

Chris Almond was introduced by Garry Flitcroft but still Chorley found it tough to break down a stubborn Fylde outfit.

With just three minutes left on the clock and one of the only real chances of the half, AFC Fylde made it 3-1 and sealed their cup victory.

Blinkhorn avoided a Woolcott challenge and sent Barnes clean through on goal and the pacy winger slotted well past the onrushing Grundy.

Hinchcliffe then saved well from an Almond volley but with just seconds remaining Barnes again broke the Chorley backline to fire past the helpless Grundy and seal the cup victory.

Chorley: - Grundy, Ross, Jarvis (Cottrell 60), Teague (c), O’Brien (Walmsley 42), Roscoe, Wiles (Almond 72), Woolcott, Dean, Whitham, Stephenson,

Subs not used:- Zibaka, Ashton (gk).