Stockport County 3 Chorley 0
Chorley’s FA Trophy interest ended abruptly as they failed to negotiate their first hurdle in this season’s competition in the third qualifying round.
For the second time in a month the Magpies were beaten 3-0 at Edgeley Park, and the Hatters must have been surprised at this second comfortable victory over a Magpies side until recently viewed as County’s ‘bogey team’.
Last Saturday’s emphatic success at Kidderminster suggested that Chorley had emerged from the doldrums of the past month.
But this match was a wake-up call for a side that seems to have lost the defensive solidity which has brought it so much success in recent seasons.
Admittedly injuries have begun to take their toll but too many goals at present are being conceded from set-pieces, as were two in this match.
In addition, the Magpies missed a crucial opportunity to take an early lead when Adam Blakeman – usually so reliable from the penalty-spot – saw his well-struck effort brilliantly saved by Ben Hinchcliffe.
The award in the fifth minute followed a foul on Louis Almond but Hinchcliffe must have done his homework on Blakeman’s deliveries and, flinging himself to his left, he tipped ball for a corner at full stretch.
It was County who took the lead in the 18th minute when Ash Palmer reacted the quickest to bundle home a corner from close range.
Although Chorley had half-chances in some end-to-end exchanges, with Almond firing just wide from outside the box and Hinchcliffe smothering a low shot from Elliot Newby, they still trailed at the break.
Almond created another chance for himself soon after the restart, turning a defender but firing straight at Hinchcliffe before Stockport effectively wrapped up the tie with headed goals in the 53rd and 55th minutes.
First, Jamie Scott converted a left-wing corner and then a low centre from the same flank was nodded home by Adam Thomas.
Manager Jamie Vermiglio pronounced himself ‘frustrated’ at the result.
He said: “We started very well and if we had scored the early penalty it could have been a different game.
“Their goals all came from corners and crosses and that’s not what Chorley are all about, which is to be solid defensively.”
CHORLEY: Urwin, Anson, Blakeman, Teague (A Newby 66), Meppen-Walter (Lussey 46), Jordan, Cottrell (Carver 73), O’Keefe, Almond, Wilson, E. Newby. Subs (not used): Whitham, Noble-Lazarus.