Chorley 2 Stalybridge Celtic 2
In a dramatic finale, Chorley salvaged their hopes of progress in the FA Trophy with an equaliser in the fourth minute of added time.
But this was a tie which the Magpies should have had sewn up by half-time.
Yet failure to put away their chances left the game open and a much improved second-half showing enabled the visitors to overturn Chorley’s interval lead and they looked all set for a shock victory with only seconds to go.
Stalybridge posed little threat as the home side dominated the first half. Chris Almond should have given Chorley the lead when sent clear but shot wastefully wide.
Then Dale Whitham clipped the bar in a bid to convert the loose ball after keeper Lewis King had parried Darren Stephenson’s angled attempt.
It was a Whitham corner on 29 minutes which brought the breakthrough, King appearing to punch the ball into his own net under pressure from Andy Teague and Stephenson, though the latter was credited with the goal.
A bad miss from Chris Simm followed, the hard-working striker blazing over from 12 yards after a neat build-up.
The Magpies, however, lost their way after the break and Stalybridge grew in confidence following two substitutions to take the game to their hosts.
There was a clear warning for Chorley when Aaron Grundy had to race from goal and block a shot from substitute George Lomax as he broke through – the keeper’s first serious test of the afternoon.
But he was beaten on 75 minutes when the ever-probing Paul Ennis fashioned himself a shooting chance and from 20 yards, drove home a low shot through a ruck of players.
Worse followed for Chorley with just three minutes to play.
Jake Cottrell spoiled a combative contribution by resorting to a suicidal back-pass from close to halfway, leaving Liam Dickinson to run through unchallenged and slip the ball beyond Grundy. It looked all over for the Magpies but as time ran out, Paul Jarvis whipped over a left-wing cross and Teague charged in to score with a near-post header to force a replay at Stalybridge tomorrow evening.
AFC Fylde reached the first round of the FA Trophy for the first time in their history after winning a tough battle with fellow Vanarama Conference North side Hednesford Town 3-2 at Kellamergh Park.
Josh Wilson scored his first goal for the club and there was a goal apiece for Richie Allen and Danny Lloyd.