Magpies hint at what might have been

Dale Whitham was on target
Dale Whitham was on target
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Solihull Moors 0 Chorley 2

It was not in the script but after duly forming a guard of honour to welcome their hosts and National League North champions on to the pitch, Chorley proceeded to rain on Solihull’s parade.

They earned a deserved victory, courtesy of two fine goals in the last 13 minutes.

Bookmakers’ odds were close on 5/1 against the Magpies ending a six-match sequence without an away win here.

But the Moors, who had wrapped up the title with three games to go, could not muster one final flourish for their fans ahead of receiving the trophy and their winners’ medals following the final whistle.

There was no real sign of an upset in a quiet first half.

Though Moors created the more half-chances, Sam Ashton was tested only once when he made a point-blank save from Andy Brown. The game finally sparked into life four minutes from the break when a fine cross from the left reached Moors’ Michael Nottingham, who hit the bar from close range.

Another clear chance for the home side went begging just before the hour. A perfect ball from Nottingham left Darryl Knights with a free header but he could only direct it straight at Ashton.

From then on, Chorley proved the stronger, increasingly controlling the game, and a clever dummy by Andy Teague allowed the ball to run to Jake Cottrell, whose terrific drive arrowing for the top corner was superbly tipped over by Danny Lewis.

The keeper again rescued Solihull with another fine stop as Darren Stephenson skipped past his marker and whipped in a menacing low drive.

A Chorley goal was clearly coming and Stephenson supplied it on 77 minutes. Dale Whitham sent him clear on goal with an incisive through ball and the Magpies’ top scorer coolly stroked it past Lewis.

Then with five minutes to go, a superb victory was sealed.

This time Stephenson was the provider with a neat lay-off to Whitham, who fired a cracking shot first-time from 20-yards which clipped a post on its way into the net.

Stefan Moore had a late chance to at least put Solihull on the scoresheet but his shot straight at Ashton.