Saturday January 21st, 3pm
THE Magpies returned to winning ways at a windswept Silverlands.
It was always going to be a difficult day for both teams with the blustery and often swirling wind whipping along the full length of the Derbyshire ground.
In the first half Chorley had the wind at their backs, but this often proved to be more of a hindrance as Chris Denham and Steve Foster were often chasing a never slowing ball.
Against the wind Buxton almost took a first minute lead as Wayne Maden was rounded but the shot went narrowly wide.
The visitors, roared on by approximately 150 travelling supporters, some enjoying a stag weekend in the town, took the lead on 5 minutes when Denham picked himself up to fire home a free-kick he earned from 25 yards.
Minutes later Denham beat the defence but couldn’t beat keeper Scott Hartley with a shot from the edge of the box.
Despite the wind Buxton pushed on the break and levelled the score on 18 minutes with Magpie numbers reduced. Andy Russell was on the side-lines poised to replace Wayne Maden who had been struggling for a little while and Tom Ince was off the pitch receiving treatment with Steve Foster covering at left back. With this confusion at the back the hosts took full advantage with Barraclough heading in a right wing cross.
Chorley almost regained the lead on 22 minutes, but Foster was unlucky to see he effort from an Ince free-kick rebound off the woodwork.
Russell Saunders was on hand to deny a Buxton break on the half hour mark as the wind continued to control the game.
With the break approaching Foster missed the opportunity to net his 18th goal of the season when he tamely shot at the keeper.
The second half started in the same vein as the first, but this time it was Chorley who almost netted within seconds of the restart when Denham shot just inches beyond the foot of the post with the keeper left watching.
With the wind as strong as ever it was not Buxton’s turn to chase and Chorley’s to push against the constant gales. Chorley adapted better, playing the ball on the deck whenever possible, but Buxton still used the wind to their advantage a few times, but Saunders and his back four kept them at bay.
Matt Walwyn, the star of Wednesday’s semi-final win, had a quieter afternoon today, but on a few occasions he had the defenders legs tied in knots as he weaved his way through and Denham was a constant threat until his withdrawal with his pace and energy.
On 69 minutes Chorley regained the lead when Adam Roscoe headed in a perfect right flank delivery from Mark Ross and four minutes later Foster added to the score with a lobbed effort that clipped the underside of the bar as it beat Hartley to seal the points.
Elsewhere there was a mixed bag of results with Chester losing at home to Hednesford, Northwich drew at Frickley (proving it isn’t an easy place to visit), but fellow contenders Marine, Bradford and FC United all won meaning the top of the division just gets tighter!
Next at the Chorley Group Victory Park Stadium, the ever improving Stafford Rangers who thrashed Stocksbridge 5-1.
Starting XI: Russell Saunders, Mark Ross, Matt Walwyn, Andy Teague, Wayne Maden, Jamie Vermiglio, Adam Roscoe, Steve Flitcroft, Chris Denham, Steve Foster, Tom Ince
Subs: Andy Russell (Maden, 20), John Cunliffe (Denham, 78), Jordan Bowen (Walwyn, 84), Ally Brown, Ahmadi Proya
Goals: CHRIS DENHAM (5), Bradley Barraclough (18), ADAM ROSCOE (69), STEVE FOSTER (74)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Steve Flitcroft, was rock solid throughout and his distribution was excellent