Two goals from attacker Ashley Hunter saw off non-league side Chorley in Town’s final game of pre-season on Monday night, with Joey Barton’s side recording a 2-1 victory.
The Magpies got off to a flyer when Josh Wilson scored the first goal of the night, but it was Town who finished off the game stronger when Hunter scored two goals late in the first half.
The second half settled down with a number of changes for both sides, most noticeable being Town’s team which saw seven academy players on the field of play.
It was a lively start to the final pre-season match for both clubs with chances coming for either side. However it was Wilson who opened the scoring after eight minutes. Marcus Carver worked the ball well on the wings and his cross found the midfielder to tap the ball home.
The Magpies nearly doubled their lead moments later through Andy Teague. The right back found a yard of space inside the 18-yard box after a bit of pinball, however his shot at goal went narrowly wide of the Town goal.
The visitors got a grip of the game and started to put the home side under some pressure, and after Ashley Nadesan worked the ball well past central defender Meppen-Walter, his cross into the box found Hunter, whose first time effort on the volley made Chorley goalkeeper Belford pull off a magnificent save.
Barton’s side continued to look threatening on the attack and this time it was Nadesan who was one on one with the keeper. The 23-year-old shrugged off Scott Leather and looked to bury his chance, but the striker failed to hit the target. Let off for the home team.
The rewards of their dominance came five minutes before half-time, Hunter played a lovely one-two with Madden and with two touches, his third touch was a wonder strike which looped over the keeper into the back of the net. What a strike!
Hunter got Town’s second and his second of the match after Nadesan’s drilled cross found him on the edge of the box. The 22-year-old dropped off his man to give him a few yards of space and with his first time effort, the ball found the bottom corner. Just what the away side deserved for their hard work after going a goal down.
The second half saw young full-back Ryan Rydel come on for Eddie Clarke and the full-back was straight into the action when Carver ran directly towards him, and it was a tackle of importance as Rydel cleared the danger and looked to set Town off on the counter.
Monday’s signing Dean Marney played 65 minutes on his debut and was replaced by Nathan Sheron who slotted into a young midfield alongside Biggins and Garner. The trio looked very calm and composed on the ball, and making the five of Chorley work hard for the ball.
More changes came for the Cod Army with 15 minutes to go, seeing more of the academy players getting game time with the first team. Dylan Boyle, born in Northern Ireland, came onto the field of play for Biggins and at the age of 16, he didn’t look out of place, along with the other seven players from the category three set-up.
Joey Barton has now gone undefeated in his first pre-season as manager, and in five days’ time he will pick his first side for the game against AFC Wimbledon.
Chorley XI: Belford (GK), Challoner (Trialist 72’), Blakeman (Lenehan 70’), Teague, Leather, Meppen-Walter, O’Keefe (Whitham 70’), Wilson, Carver (Fletcher 70’), Almond (A. Newby 45’), E. Newby (Hine 70’).
Subs not used: Eccles (GK), Anson, Jordan, Whelan.
Town XI: Trialist (GK) (Urwin 75’), Jones (Holgate 75’), Clarke (Rydel 48’), Marney (Sheron 65’), Eastham (Hill 75’), Bolger (Baines 75’), Holt (Garner 18’), Biggins (Boyle 75’), Madden, Nadesan, Hunter (Maguire 75).