Chorley recorded their first win of the season with a comprehensive victory over last season’s Evo-Stik Champions FC United of Manchester.
Josh Hine netted a brace while Darren Stephenson netted his first goal since December as his edges ever closer to full fitness.
In front of an excellent Tuesday night attendance of 1876, with around 400 vocal Mancunians in attendance, Chorley took the lead after a tight opening 10 minutes.
Josh Hine capped of a fine team move, which started with Paul Jarvis and new signing Andy Bond combining to give the ball to James Dean on the edge of the box. With his back to goal Deano held off his marker and played an excellent ball through to the advancing Stephenson who broke into the box and squared to Hine for a simple tap in from 4 yards.
With the goal came confidence and the Magpies looked every bit as good as they did at any time last season and the returning Chris Doyle slotted in alongside Keiran Charnock to form a formidable central partnership which kept FC at bay all night long.
Playing a patient game, Chorley controlled much of the first half, but FC where quick on the break and ex-Fylde striker Sean Cooke almost caught Jarvis out twice on the right wing.
Stephenson’s strength allowed him to wriggle free from a wrestling hold that Jerome Wright had on him. After an Adam Roscoe pile-driver was blocked and the ball cleared Wright received a deserved yellow card for his attempted full nelson just after the half hour mark!
With ten minutes to go to the interval the visitors finally came into the game and almost had an equaliser on 37 minutes when a deflected shot had Sam Ashton well beaten, but the ball flew inches with many of the red army letting out a “yeahooooooh” as it passed the post.
Ashton then pulled off an acrobatic save to deny his former club, tipping a whipped in free-kick over the bar which resulting in two corners following in quick succession, the second seeing the ball clipping the woodwork as Chorley rode their luck. Cooke then wasted a glorious opportunity with a poor free-kick from 22 years following a Dale Whitham foul that earned the Magpies skipper a yellow card.
After the break home Bond picked up a yellow card for a poorly judged tackle on the halfway line and from the free-kick Luke Ashworth stung the palms of Ashton with a thunderous shot from 20 yards.
Then on 54 minutes a moment of madness from Wright saw the FC United captain shown a second yellow card for a raking tackle on Roscoe which left the Magpies midfielder with a gash in his leg; thus earning Wright a second red card in successive games following his dismissal against Tamworth at the weekend.
Chorley made full use of the numerical supremacy; sticking with the same formation they pressed FC back for long spells, patiently probing and pressing. Mark Ross put in two super balls, both to Stephenson. The first didn’t quite land for the striker, but the second on 60 minutes fell perfectly and Darren calmly slotted under David Carnell to double the lead.
Two goals and a man extra, game over? Not quite. FC didn’t give up, but the Magpies were professional to the end. Cooke tried an effort from 25 yards, but Ashton was in no mood to give up a first clean sheet of the season, saved will diving low to his left to push the ball round the post.
Marcus Carver and Adam Dodd were brought into the action, and Carver almost got onto the scoresheet, but after holding off a challenge from David Birch his chipped effort went over both keeper and cross bar!
Lewis Guy replaced man of the match Stephenson, who left the field to a standing ovation and Guy was soon in the action, almost getting onto the end of a Whitham corner.
Guy had a hand in the third goal; receiving the ball from Carver he surged into the box and unselfishly squared to an unmarked Hine who repeat his earlier effort from similar range to complete a great night for Chorley.
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross, Paul Jarvis, Chris Doyle, Keiran Charnock, Adam Roscoe, Josh Hine, Dale Whitham, James Dean, Andy Bond, Darren Stephenson
Subs: Matt Flynn, Adam Dodd (Jarvis, 73), Jake Cottrell, Lewis Guy (Stephenson, 77) Marcus Carver (Dean, 69)
Goals: JOSH HINE (11), DARREN STEPHENSON (61), JOSH HINE (89)
Red Cards: Jerome Wright (FC United, 54)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Darren Stephenson