Chorley 3, AFC Fylde 1: Festive derby victory for Magpies
Chorley pocketed the points from this feisty festive ‘derby’ after a display full of grit and sheer determination to extend their unbeaten National League North run to eight games.
And the players who netted the spoils were Jamie Vermiglio’s twin pre-Christmas captures, strikers Connor Hall and Andy Owens.
The Magpies looked to be facing an uneasy afternoon as Fylde began with a confident flourish of eye-catching attacking football played with plenty of fizz. But the Coasters were rocked by a supreme Hall strike after six minutes.
Celebrating the conversion of his loan-deal into an extended contract with Chorley, Hall gathered a knockdown at the corner of the penalty area and promptly dispatched a cracker of a low cross-shot past a helpless Chris Neal into the far corner of the net.
Fylde’s response was a 19th minute equaliser from the tricky Ben Tollitt who found himself with ample space to test Matt Urwin with a strong low drive which the keeper, otherwise excellent on the day, allowed to squirm beneath him and trickle into the net.
The Coasters began to dominate the exchanges and a clear opportunity in front of goal was missed before Chorley had a real chance to regain the lead. Hall cleverly released Lewis Reilly whose low angled attempt to find the far corner flew past the post.
As the interval approached Fylde were asking all the questions and Urwin twice alertly kept Chorley on terms.
The Coasters resumed on the front foot and Urwin did well to claw a Tollitt free-kick away from the top corner. In another raid, Danny Philiskirk rattled a post from short range when a goal looked certain.
But a three-minutes’ spell on the hour proved a game-changer for Chorley. A clever corner routine saw Owens score within a minute of coming on in a double substitution. A deep delivery reached Owens in acres of space beyond the back post and he headed smartly past Neal to put the Magpies in front.
Another header then gave Chorley an unexpected two-goals’ cushion. A free-kick, one of fourteen conceded out of frustration by Fylde in the game, was only partially cleared and the ball was recycled for Harvey Smith to direct a looping header beyond Neal from six yards.
The expected Fylde fightback never materialised in the face of relentless determination by the Magpies to hustle opponents out of possession and win second-balls. They also ran down the clock successfully, the only blot on their performance the sending-off of third substitute Tyler Garratt, booked for time-wasting in the 89th minute and then red-carded for a reckless challenge in added time.
Chorley’s intense application had won the battle against an individually talented Fylde team but manager Vermiglio refused to be carried away by the performance.
"It’s a great win against a fantastic Fylde side," he said. "The scoreline flattered us but after the double-substitution we were strong and resolute in holding onto our lead. We’ve played better in other games and come out with nothing or just one point but without being at our best today we’ve come away with three points."
CHORLEY : Urwin, Birch, Baines, Smith, Leather, Tomlinson, Newby, Calveley (Garratt,71), Shenton (Henley, 57), Reilly (Owens, 57), Hall. Unused subs. Marah, Jebbison.