It was sweet 16 for Mark Ross on Monday night as Chorley lifted the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy.
The Magpies defeated Clitheroe 3-0 at Bolton Wanderers’ Macron Stadium to win the competition for the 16th time in their history.
I heard that it’s the 16th time we have won it, which shows that we are one of the best clubs in Lancashire
The victory was particularly sweet for Ross as he did not play in the final when Chorley last won the trophy in 2012.
And he was on the losing side last year when the Magpies were beaten 4-1 by AFC Fylde in the showpiece match.
“Everybody is still buzzing from our win on Monday,” Ross said.
“I did not play in the final the last time we won it and we lost in the final last year against Fylde.
“So I really wanted to win on Monday – I was well up for it.
“I heard that it’s the 16th time we have won it, which shows that we are one of the best clubs in Lancashire.”
The match was effectively over by half-time after Clitheroe had opened up a three-goal advantage.
However, they failed to add to their tally in the second period, which is testimony to Clitheroe’s second-half display.
“I played against Clitheroe a few seasons ago when we were both in the same division,” Ross said.
“But I didn’t know too much about them – obviously I know their manager Simon Garner.
“They are a couple of divisions below us but I was impressed with them on Monday.
“We showed last season in the FA Trophy when we beat teams who were a division or sometimes two divisions above us.
“I think in the first half, we showed we had experience of the big occasion more than what they had.
“But in the second half they relaxed and gave it their all, which showed by the fact that we didn’t score.”
Ross believes Chorley’s Trophy victory can now be the springboard for success in the league. Garry Flitcroft’s men are only five points outside the Conference North play-off positions and boast several games in hand.
They were denied completing the double over current leaders AFC Fylde on Saturday by a last-ditch wonder goal from the Coasters’ Dion Charles.
“We were absolutely gutted to concede in the last minute on Saturday,” Ross said.
“But it was a worldy of a goal and as a defender there is nothing you do about that.
“But I said to the lads afterwards, we haven’t lost to them this season.
“We have a big last eight weeks of the season coming up.
“We wanted top spot, but I don’t think we can get that now but without asking the rest of the lads, I can tell we all want to get in the play-offs.”
Chorley travel to former Football League club Stockport County tomorrow.
The Hatters have endured a spectacular fall from grace since they plied their trade in the second tier of English football in the 1990s and early 2000s.
However, Ross is looking forward to playing at Edgeley Park, which is probably the biggest stadium in the division.
“I have never played there before,” Ross said. “I can’t wait for it. I like playing in front of big crowds in big games.
“It’s amazing how far they have come down the leagues.
“It’s a bit of a local game for us as well. I know some of the Manchester lads in our squad are looking forward to it. They will be wanting to impress.”