Sixth tier Chorley served up the biggest giant-killing of the FA Cup so far on Saturday afternoon, defeating Championship outfit Derby County 2-0 at the aptly named Victory Park.
The Magpies came up against a very under-strength Rams side, but still produced a huge shock in progressing to the fourth round of the competition, thanks to goals from Connor Hall and Mike Calveley.
Hall opened the scoring on 10 minutes, nodding the ball over the line following a scramble in the penalty area from a corner. Calveley then doubled their lead from close range with only five minutes to go, and the hosts held out to earn an unprecedented place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
They also became the first team from the sixth tier of English football to knock out a top-two-tier side since 1991, and this amazing run will earn them a precious £200,000 in TV revenue and prize money.
And more importantly than that, the entire team belted out Adele at the final whistle, in a proper showing of spirit, togetherness and harmony (although there were no harmonies sung).
Unusual, but we’ll take nothing away from the underdogs on this memorable day. At least now they know they’re rolling in the deep with the big boys from hereon in…
Chorley, currently sitting in 10th place in the National League North, were not expected to cause any form of upset against Derby on Saturday, but the Rams, without coach Wayne Rooney, slipped up and turned in a dismal display against their un-fancied opponents.
Scorer of the opening goal Hall couldn’t contain his delight at the end of the match, describing the feeling of FA Cup glory as ‘unbelievable’ and praising his teammates for their efforts against the Rams.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, isn’t it? That’s fantastic for the club and it will keep us going for a long time financially. The boys have done so well – that’s two League One teams and a Championship side, albeit a group of young lads today. But it was a top effort from us today and I’m so happy.
“We had to show them (Derby) respect because at the end of the day they’re full-time pros. We knew they weren’t going to be a pushover.
“We started off well, got the early goal and decided we just needed to keep pushing on because 1-0 is always a dangerous scoreline. Getting the second was just a great feeling.”
Chorley now go straight into the hat for the next round of the competition, while Derby will be left to focus on their own league form, as they are languishing in the bottom three of the Championship table.
A day to forget for one of England’s biggest clubs, and one to remember for the plucky minnows!