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Chorley 2 PNE 3

Posted: Tue 15 Jul 2014
Author: @pnefc

The Lilywhites came from 2-0 down to retain the Jack Kirkland Trophy with a win at Victory Park.

A Scott Laird screamer, a close range finish from Joe Garner and a debut headed goal from Andy Little gave North End a 3-2 triumph.

Josh Hine opened the scoring for the Magpies on 16 minutes, sliding home from close range, before Darren Stephenson doubled the lead with a close range header on 35 minutes.

The goal of the night, from Laird, reduced the arrears as he found the top right hand corner of the goal from over 30 yards and within 90 seconds of the second half getting underway Garner levelled from close range.

On debut, Little gave North End the lead for the first time with 25 minutes left, heading home Will Hayhurst’s cross in the side's first run out of pre-season as the team got off to a winning start.

The side were under the watchful eyes of Glynn Snodin and John Dreyer, with manager Simon Grayson having gone under the knife on a minor knee operation and missing the game.

The team was split into two XI’s, with all fit players getting a run out. Bailey Wright was not considered, having only returned to training on Monday, whilst Kyel Reid was not ready. John Welsh, Jack Ryan, Scott Wiseman and Lee Holmes were all left out as a precaution.

The recently promoted Magpies, in an all-red strip, started brightly, with Jack Dorney pulling a shot just wide of the left hand post from the edge of the box after only six minutes left, but it was North End who had the ball in the net first.

Kevin Davies headed home David Buchanan’s left wing cross just before the ten minute mark, but the assistant on the main stand side ruled that Jordan Hugill was interfering with play enough to rule the goal out for offside, despite the debutant not getting a touch.

The combination of the two front men was seen again shortly after. This time Hugill received the ball out wide on the left, he put over a deep cross to the back post, but Davies couldn’t keep his header down.

Against the run of play Garry Flitcroft’s side took the lead. Josh Hine latched onto a ball in behind from big forward James Dean and slid the ball past the advancing Jamie Jones into the empty net.

At the other end it needed Chorley keeper Sam Ashton to be at full stretch to deny Davies from another back post header, following a deep Chris Humphrey cross from the right.

However, it was two ten minutes before the interval, as Darren Stephenson headed in from close range after header back across goal by James Dean from right wing cross; Dean’s second assist of a warm sunny evening at Victory Park.

Shortly after the goal some good passing from North End created an opening; play was switched out to the left to Scott Laird, who drove into the box and put a shot right across the face of the goal but also a yard wide of the right hand post.

Moments later a wonderful pass from Neil Kilkenny beat the offside trap to find Jordan Hugill; Sam Ashton came out and did well to close the angle and the recently acquired forward turned inside, but his shot was narrowly wide of the right hand post.

The deficit was reduced three minutes before the break, with the goal of the night. Scott Laird picked up a quick free kick from Neil Kilkenny 35 yards out, the recently married left-sided man took one touch and fired a rocket into the top right hand corner – a brilliant strike giving Ashton no chance.

Right on the stroke of half-time it could have been all-square. Chris Humphrey won a corner which Laird put into the box, where it found its way to Ben Davies at the back post, but his poke at the ball directed it just wide of the upright.

After a change of the whole XI at the break, North End soon found parity. The ball came in from the right, crossed by Keith Keane and was punched out by Ashton, but only as far as Will Hayhurst who lofted a header back towards goal, only for the scrambling keeper to brilliantly palm it onto the post, however, Joe Garner continued where he left off last season, to be on hand to swivel and turn the ball in from close range.

On the hour mark Andy Little went close to marking his first run out in a PNE shirt with a goal, driving in off the right hand side and firing in a low shot that forced Ashton to block well with his legs.

This was followed by an exquisite one-touch passing move that culminated in Joe Garner and Paul Gallagher exchanging passes on the edge of the box and the Leicester City loanee curling a right footed shot towards the bottom corner, only for Ashton to tip the ball around the post for a corner.

Little did find the net on 65 minutes though, to give North End the lead. Will Hayhurst had switched to the right hand side and delivered a cross with pace and accuracy to the penalty spot to where the former Rangers man rose highest to head powerfully into the bottom left hand corner.

The football was now crisp and pacy from the Lilywhites and Josh Brownhill went close twice in the space of 30 seconds with 20 minutes left. The first came from a quick counter-attack launched by the youngster, who found Hayhurst, who in turn launched the ball forward for Garner; he held up the ball for the on-rushing Brownhill, but his blistering drive was brilliantly turned away by Ashton. From the resulting corner, Garner again laid the ball off, but this time the shot was hit wide of the right hand post from 18 yards.

Paul Gallagher almost took advantage of a quickly taken free kick by Joe Garner to make it four with ten minutes left, but he couldn’t quite curl the ball into the bottom right corner from a difficult angle on the left hand side of the penalty area and North End, in the end, ran out winners without too much more difficulty.

Chorley line-up: Ashton, Jacobs (Ashworth, 49), Cottrell, Teague, Smyth (Trialist, 49), Dorney  (Vermiglio, 63), Hine, Whitham, Dean (Almond, 49), Winter  (Astbury, 56), Stephenson (Ross, 49). Subs not used: Jansen, Grundy (gk).

PNE line-up (first half): Jones, Woods, Buchanan, Kilkenny, Clarke (c), B Davies, Humphrey, Browne, K Davies, Hugill, Laird.

PNE line-up (second half): Stuckmann (James, 80), Keane, Anderton, Byrom, King (c), Huntington, Little, Brownhill, Garner, Gallagher, Hayhurst.

Attendance: 1,437

Referee: Mr B Toner