Spennymoor 1, Chorley 0
The black and whites march on into the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup '“ but on this occasion the famous stripes were worn not by the Magpies but by their hosts Spennymoor.
The NPL Premier Division side not only caused an upset by eliminating higher-league Chorley but did so with only 10 men for more than half the game.
Their skipper Chris Mason was shown a straight-red card on 37 minutes by Newcastle referee Will Finnie for chopping down Jason Walker as he went for goal.
But the Moors overcame the handicap with a heroic defensive display and grabbed what proved to be the winning goal 18 minutes into the second half.
However, Chorley will be very disappointed to have failed to make the extra man count in a second half which saw them force numerous corners without causing home keeper Dan Lowson too many serious problems.
The Magpies simply do not score enough goals away from home and four in total from six league outings on the road suggests a heavy reliance on keeping a clean-sheet.
Defensive stability has regularly served the side well but in a hothouse atmosphere of an FA Cup tie the ability to hit back is crucial.
Manager Matt Jansen on this occasion was far from happy.
“It’s a massive disappointment. We were very poor in the first half and though we improved considerably, albeit against 10 men, we did not show sufficient passion and desire to get on the end of things. A few of my players have not done themselves justice.”
In a cagey first half it was Spennymoor who looked the more likely to score.
Sam Ashton went full length to keep out a free-kick and shortly after the interval had to scramble to turn over a fierce cross-cum-shot.
But Chorley finally began to impose themselves on the game and on 54 minutes Dale Whitham clipped the post with a header from short range when perhaps he ought to have scored.
Then another Whitham effort from a fine Matt Challoner cross was deflected over the bar. Challoner supplied another inviting centre but its trajectory was too low for Sefton Gonzales’ attempted header.
The Moors’ decisive goal after 63 minutes came somewhat against the run of play but it was a classic.
A good ball out of defence sent Rob Ramshaw racing down the wing and he whipped over a great cross which leading scorer Glen Taylor, charging between two defenders at the far post, met with a firm header past Ashton.
The home side defended for their lives after that, particularly in the closing stages when Chorley peppered the goalmouth.
Andy Teague got in a powerful cross-shot which was deflected wide and only a scuffed contact by Gonzales from one of a series of corners prevented an equaliser.
Twice in a matter of seconds goal-line clearance preserved the Moors’ slender lead.
Then in added time there was a heart-stopping moment for home fans when Magpies’ substitute Jack Lynch went down in the box but the referee was unmoved by Chorley appeals.
CHORLEY : Ashton, Challinor, Beesley, Teague, Leather (O’Keefe,70), Charnock (Jordan,46), Blakeman, Whitham (Lynch70), Walker, Gonzales, Cottrell. Unused subs. Azam, Jarvis, Roscoe, Caunce (gk).
Attendance : 713