Chorley win after dramatic late twist

Darren Stephenson

Darren Stephenson

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A bizarre afternoon’s action ended Chorley’s season on a winning note to the delight of the majority of a splendid crowd of 1,247.

It was the Magpies’ eighth home win since the turn of the year in which they have lost only one of 11 at Victory Park.

Most of the drama was reserved for the final quarter of a match which up until then had a distinctly end-of-season look.

There was minimal excitement in a scrappy first half punctuated by a move of quality which put Chorley ahead on 22 minutes.

Dale Whitham and Mark Ross combined cleverly down the right and Ross cut the ball back towards the penalty spot for Darren Stephenson to sweep it low into the corner of the net.

Both sides had a ‘goal’ disallowed for offside technicalities in the opening minutes of the second half and the game was meandering uneventfully towards another routine home victory when events took a dramatic turn.

First, Ross almost stole the show with a classic piece of opportunism. Spotting keeper James Montgomery well off his line, he launched a sublime strike from beyond the halfway line and was unlucky to see the ball clip the upright.

Shortly afterwards in the 74th minute Telford snatched a curiosity of an equaliser. A free kick floated beyond the far post was needlessly intercepted by Chorley full-back Will Beesley who contrived to head the ball against the crossbar and Wilson was on hand to nod the rebound past the flailing arms of Sam Ashton from close range.

The setback triggered an immediate Magpies’ reaction. The irrepressible Stephenson struck a post and then saw another fierce goal-bound shot blocked in the six-yards’ box with Montgomery appearing wrong-footed.

But the Magpies’ top-scorer and player-of-the-year was not to be denied and when he again burst in on goal with two minutes to go he went down under challenge near the by-line.

The referee pointed to the spot and Stephenson, unruffled by a delay in taking the penalty, calmly sent Montgomery the wrong way for his 21st goal of the season in all competitions.