A SHELL-SHOCKED Stockport County tasted defeat for the second week running after an impressive Chorley ran out 3-1 winners at Edgeley Park in the National League North on Saturday.
Despite County dominating large periods of the first half, a dangerous Chorley took the lead when Jake Cottrell’s speculative long-range effort went in under the body of goalkeeper Ian Ormson in what should have been a routine save.
Just two minutes later, Stockport fought back to level when Jake Kirby picked up the ball on the edge of the area and smashed the ball into the top right-hand corner of Sam Ashton’s goal.
However it was Chorley who came flying out of the blocks in the second period. Well-taken goals from Darren Stephenson and Josh Hine settled the contest before referee Iain Turner added insult to injury for the home side when sending off Lewis Montrose for a dangerous tackle late on.
Neil Young made three changes to his line-up with Mo Cham as well as new signings Dale Tonge and Ross Killock starting. Another new addition in the form of Yusuf Coban had to make do with a place on the bench and captain Sean O’Hanlon missed out due to suspension.
Chorley were also without their regular armband wearer Andy Teague missing through injury. Boss Matt Jansen started loanee Marcus Carver in a central striking role in his last game before returning to Accrington Stanley.
It was nearly a perfect start for the home side when, within a minute, Micah Evans found himself in space down the left-hand side of the box but keeper Ashton narrowed the angle and saved with his feet.
Though County had started the brightest, the away side were looking lively as well. Hine tested Ormson for the first time in the 24th minute but the young keeper made a smart stop at his near post.
Down the other end, it was former Tranmere striker Kayode Odejayi who was trying to break the deadlock. A great cross from the right found him, but he scuffed wide under pressure and soon after Kieran Charnock brilliantly blocked another effort from him that was sure to be a certain goal.
It was Chorley with the sucker punch though as half-time approached. Midfielder Cottrell aimed fire with a reasonably powerful effort from long range which Ormson inexplicably let squirm underneath his body and into the back of the net.
The Hatters were quick to level the game up, though, when Kirby swivelled and shot all in one movement before dispatching the ball into the top corner.
It was roles reversed at the start of the second period as Chorley came out looking like a team with the bit between their teeth.
The Magpies were clearly fired up, and just a minute after the restart, Carver missed a glorious chance, poking wide with the goal at his mercy. Soon after, only a miraculous goal line clearance from Paul Connolly prevented Andy Bond from giving the Lancashire side the lead.
Chorley didn’t have to wait long to get the goal they wanted, however, and it was another defensive mistake from County.
A poor pass back to Ormson from debutant Tonge was intercepted by the lively Stephenson and the midfielder, who scored the winner when the sides met at Victory Park in September, converted at the second time of asking.
The away side smelt blood and just after the hour they added a third goal. The impressive Hine broke down the right and finished perfectly low into the far corner, getting his ninth goal of the season in the process.
As the dying embers of the game approached, Chorley kept the Hatters at bay and frustration was setting in around the stadium.
In the case of County midfielder Montrose, that frustration boiled over into anger. A wild challenge right in front of the away fans saw him become the seventh County player this term to receive their marching orders – an awful end to what was without doubt their worst half of the season.
Young’s side remain sixth in the table, despite the defeat, but Chorley are now only three places and two points behind them in the National League North after beating County for the fourth successive meeting.
Stockport County: Ormson, Tonge, Roberts (c), Connolly, Killock, Cham (Garvin 64’), Baggie (Coban 64’), Montrose, Odejayi, Evans (Robinson 69’), Kirby.
Subs not used: Hurst (GK), Ellison.
Sent off: Montrose (84’)
Goals: Kirby (41’)
Chorley: Ashton, Ross, Cartwright, Doyle, Charnock, Cottrell, Hine, Whitham (c), Carver (Dean 75’), Bond (Lynch 90’), Stephenson (Rittenberg 85’).
Subs not used: Jarvis, Roscoe.
Goals: Cottrell (39’), Stephenson (53’), Hine (62’)
Referee: Iain Turner
By Joe Canavan at Edgeley Park