Guiseley 0 Chorley 2
A commanding display brought Chorley a richly deserved victory over fellow-Conference North high-flyers Guiseley and with it a place in the second round of the FA Trophy.
Seeking to emulate last season’s run to the last 16, the Magpies dominated this potentially tricky tie and having established a two-nil half-time lead were frankly never in danger of being pegged back.
Manager Garry Flitcroft was obviously delighted with what he termed ‘a magic performance’ by his team.
“We were absolutely outstanding today and could have been five or six up at half-time,” he said. “We were solid from front to back and Guiseley never really looked like scoring.”
Lions boss Mark Bower was frank in his assessment: “Chorley thoroughly deserved their win. We were second best all game and got what we deserved from a very poor performance.”
“Unlike ourselves, Chorley kept their discipline.”
He was referring no doubt to the straight red card issued to Adam Boyes on 72 minutes for kicking out at Chris Doyle following a clash of heads.
A Chris Simm mis-hit with the goal gaping looked potentially expensive until two goals in the 28th and 32nd minutes settled the tie.
Adam Mather scored direct from a free-kick but there was an element of controversy about the goal, as the linesman flagged another Chorley player offside only to be overruled by the referee.
There was no question about the second, slick approach play by Darren Stephenson culminating in a pinpoint centre for Simm to tap home. Any one of Simm, Paul Jarvis and Jack Lynch could have sewn up the tie at the start of the second half but they somehow contrived to miss the easiest of chances with keeper Steve Drench out of the equation,
Although Guiseley began to enjoy more possession, they rarely opened up a compact Chorley defence in which centre-backs Andy Teague and Chris Doyle were outstanding.
Sam Ashton in the visitors’ goal was not seriously tested, his one real scare being a teasing cross-shot which rebounded off the post and into his arms.
Speculative efforts by James Dean, with a fierce 35-yard drive parried by Drench, and Simm, who curled a stoppage-time snap-shot just past the angle of post and bar, might have added gloss to Chorley’s victory.
But the job had been done and Flitcroft was able to send off his players to their Christmas party in festive mood, unbeaten now in nine.