THERE was a highly-charged atmosphere at Victory Park as a feisty Stockport were finally able to record a 1-0 victory over Chorley.

Chorley’s nine-games unbeaten run in the National League North was ended as County ensured it was pay-back time for the four defeats inflicted by the Magpies in the two seasons in which both clubs have competed at this level.

In fact, allowing for decades in which the teams never met, this was County’s first win over Chorley since 1899.

Also ended was the Magpies’ impressive unbeaten home record stretching back to February, the Hatters finding the key to unlock the league’s tightest defence just once – and it proved enough for a joyous celebration by the County players and their near-900 vocal fans in a superb crowd of 2,464.

In truth, this very tight game was far from a classic.

Chorley, as manager Matt Jansen admitted afterwards, were not as sharp as in recent matches and they were hustled out of this one by an uncompromising Stockport side clearly up for the challenge.

A very physical battle allowed few clear shooting chances to either side but the decisive goal on 72 minutes was a classic route-one strike, the result of quick thinking by County keeper Ben Hinchcliffe and ex-Magpie Danny Lloyd.

When a home attack petered out at a corner, Hinchcliffe instantly launched a speculative long clearance which caught out Chorley’s last man and Lloyd, anticipating the flight of the ball, gained possession and neatly slipped his shot past the advancing Sam Ashton.

There had been little to excite the crowd in a scrappy first half, though Chorley had two chances as the interval approached.

A great cross by Jason Walker was met by Jake Cottrell but his header flew straight at Hinchcliffe.

Then a quickly-taken volley by Kieran Charnock following a corner whistled just over the bar.

County were on the front foot from the off in the second half and a volley from James Hooper was well saved by Ashton.

But gradually the Magpies gained more control and it was a real sucker-punch when the visitors snatched the all-important goal.

Chorley worked hard to find an equaliser and substitute Marcus Carver headed narrowly over at the far post from an excellent Walker cross.

All the action in a tense last few minutes was in the Stockport goalmouth.

In a frantic finale, Hinchcliffe tipped over an Adam Roscoe header and then Carver saw his shot scrambled off the line at the death.

“It just wasn’t our day,” commented Jansen.

“We weren’t quite as at it as we have been in recent games and there were a few flat performances out there.”