A stunning second-half fightback saw Chorley defeat Grantham Town and progress through to the first round proper of the FA Trophy.
The Magpies overturned a 3-1 half-time deficit in Lincolnshire with a brilliant display, culminating in a thunderous match-winning strike by the outstanding Josh O’Keefe a minute from time. This was, on paper, a tricky assignment against the Northern Premier League Premier Division promotion-chasers boasting seven straight wins and the best scoring record in their division.
Grantham’s attacking style repeatedly posed first-half problems for a Chorley defence looking more vulnerable than usual and the Gingerbreads’ lively striker and top marksman Lee Shaw enhanced his growing reputation with two goals and other near-misses.
But Matt Jansen’s men showed typical resilience in seizing control after the break and two cracking goals in a matter of minutes by Josh Wilson put them on level terms just after the hour-mark.
In fact all four Chorley goals were top-quality.
After Danny Meadows had headed in a Shaw centre to put Grantham ahead on nine minutes, Jason Walker equalised in the 20th minute, curling a superb shot into the top corner from just outside the penalty area.
Shaw restored Grantham’s lead when he raced clear from half-way and arrowed a neat shot beyond Matt Urwin from a tight angle but Chorley were close to a second equaliser when from a corner Wilson’s goal-bound drive was scrambled off the line.
The Magpies’ FA Trophy hopes looked to be dashed just before the half-time whistle as the ever-dangerous Shaw whipped an angled 20-yards’volley past Urwin and just inside the far post.
Whatever manager Jansen said to his players during the break clearly did the trick.
Wilson made it 2-3 after 56 minutes with a searing volley from Matt Challoner’s lofted diagonal ball and the introduction of substitute Marcus Carver created a third goal in the 63rd minute.
His whipped-in cross was perfect for Wilson whose bullet-header entered the net via the underside of the bar. Chorley continued to look dangerous in attack but the home side had their moments too and it took a wonderful save by Urwin to get down and hold a fierce volley from distance by who else but Shaw.
It proved to be the final game-changer as on 89 minutes O’Keefe won a thrilling cup-tie for Chorley, smashing a terrific first-time shot into the roof of the net from 20 yards to the delight of the Magpies’ travelling support.
CHORLEY : Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague, Leather, O’Keefe, Haughton, Hughes (Carver,60), Wilson, Walker, Cottrell (Black,77). Unused subs. Anson, Jarvis, Roscoe.