MATCH REPORT: Chorley 2 Stockport County 0

Andy Teague
Andy Teague
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Chorley FC returned to the top of the National League North thanks to a 2-0 win over title rivals Stockport County.

At 1pm the Magpies were a point behind County with three games to go.

But goals from skipper Andy Teague and Marcus Carver saw the Magpies reclaim top spot in a game many had dubbed as a potential title decider.

And promotion is now Chorley's to lose as they head into the final two games two points clear of County.

Courtney Meppen-Walter tested the palms of Ben Hinchcliffe but Chorley started nervously as Stockport County piled the pressure on in the opening stages.

Despite dominating play County lacked bite up top in the first half as skipper Andy Teague and company thwarted their hopes of an early goal.

The big news on the team sheet was the return of Matt Challoner who slotted back in at right wing-back with Teague joining Courtney Meppen-Walter and Scott Leather in a back three.

Adam Blakeman took his usual left wing-back role with Jake Cottrell holding in midfield with Alex Newby and Elliot Newby just ahead of him.

Marcus Carver and Josh Wilson starting up front.

The Magpies survived the early pressure and were clinical with their own chances as skipper Teague popped up with a 15th minute goal.

The centre-half has been at Chorley since 2011 and when the Magpies needed a hero it was no surprise that their talismanic skipper was on hand to nod home Alex Newby's corner.

The goal settled any nerves in the Magpies camp and they went on to end the half on top.

The only thing that was missing was a second goal and the Magpies certainly had chances to take a cushion into the break.

Stockport continued to press but still failed to create clear cut chances with the Magpies a threat on the counter attack.

Elliot Newby fired over and then Challoner nearly made it two as he found himself unmarked in the box but his strike flew agonisingly wide of the left stick.

Wilson managed to worm his way into the box but his effort was easily saved by Hinchcliffe.

Alex Newby also fired wide as the half ended 1-0.

At the start of the second half it was not just the sun that shone on Chorley's Victory Park but lady luck also favoured the Magpies.

Ex-Chorley man Darren Stephenson ghosted past Meppen-Walter and raced into the box.

He unselfishly squared for Matty Warburton who only had to tap the ball home to level.

But the unmarked County man inexplicably scooped the ball over in what could go down as one of the misses of the season.

That let-off woke Chorley up as County attempted to use their pace to finds gaps in the defence but once again they barely tested Matty Urwin.

It was Chorley again who bared their teeth in the final third.

Carver was left kicking himself after he nodded Alex Newby's chip wide of the left post.

The striker had found himself unmarked and it was a golden opportunity to silence the County fans once again but he would not waste his second big opportunity.

The forward charged down a defensive clearance to sprint through and calmly smashed the ball home in the 60th minute.

Victory Park erupted into the cauldron of noise boss Jamie Vermiglio had called for before the game.

Elliot Newby saw his effort saved by Hinchcliffe as up the other end Urwin basked in the sunshine with the Chorley fans in a jam-packed Victory Park.

Stockport tried to find a way back in the closing stages but the Magpies were grateful to see Jim Gannon take off ex-star Stephenson who had asked questions of his old club.

Skipper Teague was in the right place at the right time again as he managed to clear Kirby's strike.

The defender collided with the post after clearing but dusted himself down to lead the Magpies in the final 10 minutes.

Mulhearn flicked the subsequent corner just wide and Vermiglio sent on O'Keefe for Elliot Newby as Chorley looked to hold on to a vital three points in front of 3,597 at Victory Park.

Chorley: Urwin, Challoner, Leather, Teague, Meppen-Walter, Blakeman, A Newby, Cottrell, E Newby (O'Keefe, 81), Carver (Tuton, 90), Wilson (Almond, 84). Subs not used: Jordan, Anson.

Stockport County: Hinchcliffe, Minihan (Walker, 46), Duxbury, Keane, Palmer, Stott, Thomas, Turnbull, Bell (Mulhearn, 60), Warburton, Stephenson (Kirby, 77). Subs: Walker, Ormson, Osborne.

Referee: Scott Jackson.