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On This Day: Chorley 1 v 1 Macclesfield Town

20 April 2020

Macclesfield Town booked their place at Wembley Stadium twenty-four years ago today, following a colossal battle against Chorley in the FA Trophy Semi-Final Second Leg.

Sammy McIlroy's side made the trip to Victory Park boasting a 3 - 1 advantage from the first leg seven days prior, yet the HFS Loans League side had done more than enough at the Moss Rose to render the tie far from over.

It was the reigning Vauxhall Conference champions who were undoubtably the quicker to settle, with the pace of winger Tony Hemmings causing all manner of problems for the hosts during the opening exchanges.

Just five minutes in, the former Wycombe Wanderers man should have opened the scoring after Macc had created a guilt-edged chance courtesy of a flowing passing move - yet he could only direct the ball wide from close-range.

The Magpies hit back, as shortly after they launched a pulsating counter-attack - from which, Brian Ross fired across the face of Ryan Price's goal and agonisingly wide of the far post.

If nothing else, that served as a warning to McIlroy's side due to the fact that Chorley were unwavering in their belief that our first leg advantage could be overturned.

Macc continued to enjoy the bulk of possession during the first period and created another clear opportunity right on the half-hour mark. The dangerous Phil Power created space within the area and laid the ball back to Neil Sorvel -  who hit a rasping first-time effort which skimmed the angle of post and bar as it flew to safety.

Chorley knew that if their aspirations of reaching the Twin Towers were to be realised, then they had to commit men forward at every opportunity. As such, the pendulum of the match swung in the latter stages of the first half, as the hosts looked to halve the deficit.

They came close to scoring in the 34th minute, when Adam Critchley fired wildly over from three yards out - yet two minutes later, the deadlock was broken.

Innovative play down the right resulted in Kenny Mayers lofting the ball into the penalty area and from that, Ross stormed in to direct the ball into the left-hand corner of the goal.

As you would expect, taking the lead acted as a catalyst for the home side to go in search of an immediate second goal. They came close five minutes before the interval when Mayers fired wide from ten yards out and as the Referee signalled the conclusion of the first period, many of the travelling contingent were experiencing some degree of trepidation about what would follow.

These were exemplified once play resumed, as Chorley laid siege on Price's goal as they looked to level the tie on aggregate.

The popular Macc 'keeper pulled off a tremendous save to punch aside a full bloodied twenty-five yard effort from Grant Leitch, before another piece of Silkmen folklore was written shortly after.

A cross into the Macc penalty area saw Price come off his line to punch the ball away from Mayers, yet the ball fell neatly into the path of Chorley skipper Dean Emerson. His perfectly-measured lob from outside the penalty area rose above Price and was dipping into the Macc goal.

The home fans were delirious, whilst the Silkmen supporter's hearts palpitated in a manner which is seldom seen during any game.

As the ball started to dip, time unquestionably stood still.

Every one of the 3,048 spectators crammed into Victory Park that afternoon were anticipating the net to bulge - yet as they became fixated on the trajectory of the ball, they had failed to notice Cec Edey back-peddling to defiantly try and prevent what looked to be a certain goal.

In a piece of supreme athleticism, Edey rose to meet the ball just under the crossbar and someone managed to head it over the frame of the goal, before his body flew into the empty net.

It was a moment that every Macc fan present will remember forevermore.

Chorley could well have become disheartened by that moment of inspired brilliance from "Super Cec", yet to their credit they continued their assault on the Macc goal as they looked to keep their Wembley dreams alive.

Emerson and Mayers both had efforts well-saved by Price, yet our nerves were settled five minutes from time when a devastating break saw Power lay the ball over to Sorvel and he fired home to send the traveling contingent wild.

Shortly after, the full-time whistle blew and with it, confirmation that Macclesfield Town were on the way to Wembley for the third time in our history.

It was yet another incredible afternoon for the Silkmen faithful and as they returned home to celebrate on the streets of Macclesfield, there was one man who they wanted to pay homage to more than any other - Super Cecil Edey.

Macclesfield Town: Price, Edey, Gardiner, Payne, Howarth, Sorvel, Wood, Hulme, Coates, Power, Hemmings (Hutchinson).

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