Chorley recovered from a nightmare opening ten minutes to beat basement side Hyde, and in the process gained revenge for the 3-3 draw at Ewen Fields back in October when the Magpies were reduced to nine-men.
Usually the Magpies are one of the better starters to a game, but not today as Hyde raced into a two goal lead inside the opening ten minutes. Striker Tom Bentham took advantage of some poor defending to net both goals; slotting the first past Aaron Grundy then heading unchallenged in from a corner.
Chorley struggled to regain their composure and Adam Roscoe almost gifted a third with an under hit header that landed straight at the feet of the opposition, but the chance was squandered and Roscoe’s blushed saved.
How Hyde are bottom of the league with just seven points was beyond most people’s imagination in the opening quarter of the game, and indeed they had chances to add to their two early goals, but form the half hour mark the tide started to turn.
Jake Cottrell, back to his very best today, almost broke the Duke Street end cross bar with a thunderous shout which cannoned down and out before being cleared to safety after a goalmouth scramble where no Magpies could make a clean contact on the ball.
Five minutes later Chris Doyle got a goal back. Dale Whitham played a perfect pass to Darren Stephenson who crossed into the box and the big Morecambe defender slid in to convert from close range.
On thirty-seven minutes it was all square when Chris Simm netted his first Chorley goal in over four years at the third attempt from close range. His first effort was blocked then a second scuffed before a true contact was made with the third swing!
So, after a shocking start to the game, the second half kicked off all square; but Hyde didn’t hide and all credit to them for their performance in not trying to site on either three points or one.
On 58 minutes there were loud and what seemed to be valid shouts for a penalty when keeper Connor Hunt appeared to bring down Stephenson in the area. The officials however decided against the claims and award a corner instead, and from Mather’s kick Roscoe was unlucky to see a volley headed clear when it looked destined for the back of the net.
Chris Almond and James Dean were introduced to add more power going forward as the Magpies chased the win and the change almost paid immediate dividends when Almond was through one-on-one with the keeper, but his effort squirmed wide into the side netting.
But on the very next attack it was three when Stephenson made the most of some slack defending to fire past Hunt for his 40th goal for the club.
The points were far from secure and it took as world class save from Grundy with fifteen minutes to go that has Sam Ashton clapping on the bench for most of the remainder of the game!
Both sides battled on looking for more goals with Almond going closest, but when the final whistle went a huge collective sigh of relief was heaved by the vast majority of the impressive 1125 crowd.
Finally a word for Chris Doyle. Sent off against Hyde in his last game of his first loan spell at Victory Park he deserved his goal today and indeed could have scored the goal of the season with his ‘Maradona’ run from his own half, sending three defenders spinning with a drop of the shoulder – superb!
Starting XI: Aaron Grundy, Dale Whitham, Jake Cottrell, Mark Ross, Chris Doyle, Adam Roscoe, Josh Hine, Harry Winter, Chris Simm, Darren Stephenson, Adam Mather
Subs: Paul Jarvis, James Dean (Roscoe, 69), Chris Almond (Hine, 69), Kyle Jacobs, Sam Ashton
Goals: Tom Bentham (3, 10), CHRIS DOYLE (35), CHRIS SIMM (37), DARREN STEPHENSON (73)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Jake Cottrell; you don’t realise how much we missed him while injured until you see a performance like todays.