follow us on facebook instagram youtube twitter linkedin

Heroics in the FA Cup as National League Chorley cruise past Derby

calendario 12.01.2021
by: Zach
  • England
  • Vanarama National
  • North
  • Step 1-2
  • Vanarama National - North
Heroics in the FA Cup as National League Chorley cruise past Derby

Defeating Championship side Derby County, plucky semi-pro Chorley cruise to the last 32 of the FA Cup for the first time in their 138 year history. As Chorley sit at sixth-place in the National League North, they rank 125th in the football pyramid, a full 68 places below the Derby Rams. Regardless of the odds and the numerous obstacles, Chorley’s journeyman outfit dominated the game, living up to their homeground’s moniker of Victory Park. The 2-0 victory doesn’t do full justice to Chorley’s triumphant victory, as they fired six shots on target to Derby’s singular effort.

A decisive call occurred as early as the fourth minute when referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot as Derby striker Cameron Cresswell took a tumble in the box. Fortunately for Chorley, VAR overturned Friend’s call and put Cresswell in the book with a yellow for diving. 

Not five minutes later, Chorley earned an opener through reliable target-man Connor Hall. Hall and his strike partner Mike Calverly went on to terrorise the Derby back-line all game before Calverly bagged an 84th-minute strike to ensure the Magpies a place in the cup’s fourth round.

Without detracting from Chorley’s historic achievements, this was by no means a full-strength Derby side. In fact, the starting 11 had not a minute of first-team experience between them. Leading up to the game, Derby’s entire first team, and their coaching staff including England legend Wayne Rooney, went into isolation due to a coronavirus outbreak. The outbreak even ruled out three of the reserve players, forcing Derby to field a veteran squad with an average age in their late teens.

Rooney phoned Chorley boss ahead Jamie Virmiglio of the tie to apologise for his absence in a move that Virmiglio called “humble” and a “credit” to the side. Sadly for the Rams, absence of experience proved a deciding factor on the day.

That’s not to say that Chorley haven’t suffered their fair share of coronavirus woes since the first outbreak last year. In fact, Chorley’s ranking disparity with Rooney’s side stems directly from the pandemic itself. During the first lockdown, the National League decided to halt their season and decide their result based on unweighted points per game (PPG). As Chorley were bottom of the non-league’s top flight at the time, they were relegated without the season concluding, in a decision that their Chairman Ken Wright labelled “unfair.” 

Relegated by an off-the-pitch decision, Chorley proved their skill and endurance in Victory Park in the FA Cup against the Derby Rams. In fact, their team mascots could almost have swapped, as the Chorley magpies stood stubborn and powerful and the Derby Rams looked brittle and flighty. 

Aside from proving their skill, this run also looks to balance Chorley’s books and then some. Earning around £250k from the FA Cup even before the Derby tie, Chorley could even double that figure going forward. The Lancashire side are building a formidable financial base through this competition. A bid for promotion seems certain, and their manager Jamie Vermiglio isn’t even done in the cup yet. 

Vermiglio, a lifelong Liverpool fan, expressed his hopes to continue their run at Anfield against the reigning Premier League champions in the next round. Chorley’s run emphasises the true magic of the FA Cup, the oldest cup in world football, finding the beauty of the beautiful game from grassroots to stardom.


Follow us on Facebook
x Login through social networks
Facebook login Sign in with Facebook
Google login Sign in with Google
Or login with your credentials
Forgot username or password? Not yet registered?