Magpies one step from FA Cup first round

Nick Haughton celebrates scoring the winning goal in front of the Chorley supporters (photo: Josh Vosper)
Nick Haughton celebrates scoring the winning goal in front of the Chorley supporters (photo: Josh Vosper)
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Ashton Athletic 0 Chorley 1

A stunning strike in front of the BBC TV cameras by man-of-the-match Nick Haughton seven minutes from time booked Chorley’s ticket to the FA Cup fourth qualifying round.

It brought heartbreak to a plucky Ashton team rightly applauded from the field by both sets of fans in a record Brocstedes Park crowd of 610.

The North West Counties League underdogs had given everything against opponents operating three leagues higher in the non-league pyramid.

But in the final quarter of a compelling cup-tie they were worn down by an uncompromising Chorley side who finally got the measure of their hosts.

In pouring first-half rain, Ashton’s bright and intelligent play asked questions of the Magpies’ defence.

At the other end, the home side readily closed ranks to deny their visitors a clear sight of goal.

The best chance of the first half fell to Ashton’s Joel Brownhill whose fierce shot from Dale Korie-Butler’s cross brought a smart diving save from Matt Urwin, who punched the ball to safety.

Then the Chorley keeper had to turn over a well-struck Charlie Munro free-kick.

When Ashton left-back Ben Johnstone tried his luck with a thunderous 30-yard snap-shot following a corner, the ball skimmed the angle of post and bar.

On occasions when the Magpies did threaten, shots were blocked or charged down without seriously troubling Martin Pearson in the home goal.

Chorley dictated much more of the play in the second half with the slight slope in their favour and Haughton’s penetrating runs repeatedly unsettled the Ashton defence.

A raking low cross from Haughton just eluded Josh O’Keefe as he tried to turn the ball into the net at the far post.

And the Fleetwood loanee was also inches too high with a teasing free-kick.

Inevitably it was Haughton who delivered the decisive blow on 83 minutes. Adam Blakeman embarked on a mazy run before squaring the ball into the path of Haughton who, from just outside the box, left Pearson standing with a real screamer which flew high into the net.

Delighted to progress to the fourth round, manager Matt Jansen was full of praise for the way his side performed but singled out Haughton.

He said: “He’s got great feet, great balance and scored a wonder goal to take us through.”

CHORLEY: Urwin, Challoner, Beesley (Hughes 45), Teague, Leather, Blakeman, Haughton, O’Keefe, Carver, Wilson, Jarvis. Subs (not used): Roscoe, Charnock, Whitham, Walker, Cottrell, Whittingham.