Chorley 2, Spennymoor 0: Magpies progress to FA Cup first round proper after victory over old foes Spennymoor Town
Chorley made it through to the first round proper of the FA Cup for a third successive season with a hard-earned victory over lower-tier Spennymoor.
The visitors, as if still smarting from their play-off final defeat at Victory Park in May, started much the brighter and looked set to cause the Magpies major problems.
But the home side, once in front, rarely looked like missing out on the big pay-day.
Matt Urwin, who was to pull off four top-drawer saves in the game, made the first of them in the second minute, arching his body to tip over at full stretch a header from Rob Ramshaw which looked destined for the top corner.
Chorley grew into the game and Courtney Meppen-Walter headed in from a corner but the ‘goal’ was disallowed for an infringement, while Chris Holroyd’s well-timed header from a free-kick sailed straight into the arms of Moors’ keeper Matt Gould.
The lively visitors were unfortunate to be behind at the break but a soft penalty awarded on 45 minutes for a needless push on Ntumba Massanka handed the advantage to Chorley, Holroyd scoring from the spot with a minimum of fuss.
Spennymoor began the second half on the front foot and Urwin brilliantly repelled a stinging close-range effort from Dan Ward, saving instinctively with his arm outstretched, to the striker’s total disbelief.
The Magpies, however, were soon on the offensive and a classic build-up culminated in Alex Newby slipping Holroyd through on goal but Gould instantly left his line to block the striker’s shot.
However, a second Chorley goal was not long delayed, Newby netting in the 56th minute from almost thirty yards from a sublime free-kick which nestled in the bottom corner of the net.
The goal drained much of the visitors’ confidence and Chorley were very close to a third, when Massanka’s raking low centre was just out of the onrushing Holroyd’s reach in the jaws of goal.
Although the home side were managing the game well, with Meppen-Walter imperious at the heart of the defence, Urwin again earned star-rating, somehow reaching a thunderous rising drive from Glen Taylor to tip it past the post.
Substitute Josh O’Keefe appeared to have bagged Chorley’s third with a fine header from a free-kick only to be denied by an offside flag. And it was Urwin once more who ensured the clean-sheet, plunging to his right to hold Gavin Cogdon’s low drive.
The final whistle signalled a remarkable record for the Chorley keeper, unbeaten in all five matches since his return from injury. And for the Victory Park club’s bank-balance the £18,500 prize-money is a most welcome injection.
CHORLEY : Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Ross, Meppen-Walter, Baines, Nortey, A. Newby (Carver,72), Dodds (Cottrell,64), Holroyd, Massanka (O’Keefe,79). Unused subs. E.Newby, Almond, Brickell, Eccles (gk).