An impressive first half hat-trick from Josh Ginnelly sent North End on their way to the second round of the Lancashire FA Interfit Senior Cup against Jamie Vermiglio’s Chorley at Victory Park.
It took just three minutes to open the scoring, the No.17 running clean through onto Josh Harrop’s lofted through ball, before firing past Danny Eccles. It was two on 20 minutes as the winger converted again from Harrop’s left-wing cross, before adding his third ten minutes before the break, running from ten yards inside his own half, racing clear and round the Magpies keeper and converting.
The yellow-clad visitors didn’t have it all their own way though, with Taylor Brickell having reduced the arrears at 2-0 with a driven shot from the right corner of the box.
The second half saw PNE add to their tally with Harrop curling into the bottom right-hand corner on 67 minutes as the game finished 4-1.
The hosts had two former North Enders in their ranks, with Tom Stead on the bench and John Welsh in the starting XI and the midfielder almost gave the game a blistering start, firing a dipping volley from 35 yards that beat Connor Ripley but ended up on the roof of the net after only a dozen seconds.
However, the Lilywhites were ahead early as Harrop picked up the ball on half-way and lofted a ball in behind the Chorley backline for Ginnelly to race onto, before drawing the goalkeeper and sliding the ball under him into the bottom left hand corner from 12 yards.
It should have been two five minutes later as Andre Green raced down the left and pulled the ball across for Ginnelly eight yards out, but his shot was up and over the bar.
There was a concerning moment on 13 minutes as a back pass sold Ripley short and substitute Ryan Moore rounded the keeper, but hit the post and Jordan Storey did brilliantly to get back and clear off the line allowing Ripley to claim.
The second came on 20 minutes as this time Harrop pulled the ball across from the left and Ginnelly collected on edge of the ‘D’ and side-stepped right before switching his shot back across the goal and again into to left corner off the goal post and in the net.
Vermiglio’s side pulled one back within 60 seconds as Brickell collected the ball in the right-hand corner of the penalty area fired hard and low into bottom left hand corner of goal.
The yellows continued to play on the front foot though and Ryan Ledson had a left-footed effort from 25 yards, that Eccles palmed behind for a corner.
The third came ten minutes before the break as Green played a long ball over the top and Ginnelly ran from 10 yards inside his own half straight through, rounded Eccles and slid the ball into the empty net.
David Nugent made his return from injury at half-time, replacing Jayden Stockley in attack, whilst first year scholar Lewis Coulton also got a run out, replacing the returning Andrew Hughes after an hour, two planned changes for North End on the players’ return from respective calf and hamstring issues.
Nugent had a chance to mark his return with a goal on 65 minutes, as the No.35 collected a back pass and drove into the right side of the box, drilling a low shot that beat Eccles, but also flashed inches past the left-hand post.
The fourth goal was added by the quick feet of Harrop mid-way through the second half. Ledson had driven into the box and gone down under pressure, but the ball fell for Harrop, who shifted the ball out of his feet past a defender and curled a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner from 15 yards.
Eccles prevented Ginnelly adding his fourth and PNE’s fifth on 74 minutes with a fine stop from a rocket of a shot, after Coulton’s driven cross from the left fell to the No.17 to the right of goal 12 yards out.
Ripley had little to do in the second half in goal for North End, but when he was called upon with 12 minutes left, he made a fine low save, diving at full-stretch to his right to keep out a low effort from Magpies skipper Courtney Meppen-Walters.
A fifth was denied with eight minutes left after one of the best passing moved of the night, Green eventually crossing from the left for Nugent at the back post, the striker forcing Eccles into a superb point-blank save, with Harrop poking home, only to be flagged offside.
Another fine stop by the Chorley goalkeeper came with four minutes to go, as he prevented Jordan Storey adding a fifth from ten yards out, after Harrop’s corner from the right-hand side, which had been won by another strong run from Ginnelly, but it remained four as the Lilywhites progressed.
Chorley line-up: Eccles, Ross, Blakeman (Moore, 5 (Baldwin, 73)), Welsh (Stepans, 63), Baines, Meppen-Walters, Brickell, Flannagan, Slew, Dodds, Newby. Subs not used: Stead, Barrow.
PNE line-up: Ripley, O’Reilly, Hughes (Coulton, 61), Ledson (Baxter, 73), Storey, Huntington (c), Green, Bayliss, Stockley (Nugent, 46), Harrop, Ginnelly. Subs not used: Crowe, Walker.
Referee: Mr D Watson