Sixth-tier Chorley makes Wolves work for FA Cup win

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“We didn’t do ourselves any harm live on telly.”

Connor Hall and sixth-tier Chorley followed the blueprint to tempt a major FA Cup upset on Friday but couldn’t score a goal in a 1-0 loss to visiting Premier League side Wolves at Victory Park.

Vitinha’s goal ultimately ushered Wolves into the fifth round after a match that felt very much even on the day. The host Magpies will actually feel quite disappointed in themselves in not finishing their chances.

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Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio will have won admirers for his game plan, which ceded possession to Wolves in a big way (76-24) but out-attempted the visitors 10-9 and accounted for five of the match’s six shots on target.

“I thought we were tremendous,” Vermiglio said. “We should have scored. They tried their hardest. Credit to our lads. These are part time players with full time mentality. I hope it doesn’t come to a halt. I don’t know the circumstances.”

“We’ve done so well to get here,” said Hall, the 22-year-old former member of Sheffield United’s academy. “All the boys have put in a shift from the second qualifying round to get to the fourth round against a Premier League. To be honest, the second half I thought we were the better team you know. They had the more possession but we had the better chances and for 10 or 15 minutes I thought we had them on the ropes.”

Max Kilman cued up Vitinha for the lone goal after 12 minutes but veteran Wolves goalkeeper John Ruddy was the Man of the Match in making five saves.

The 34-year-old was making just his third appearance of the season, but there were plenty of regulars on the pitch for Nuno Espirito Santo. Ruben Neves, Adama Traore, and Pedro Neto did not start but came off the bench with around 20 minutes left.

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo was unimpressed with his men but happy to move on to meet Chelsea.

“The scene was set for us to lose this game,” said Espirito Santo. “I have been on the other side of games like this.”

Chorley is ninth in the National League South but even this run will be the lasting memory of their season, perhaps even if they make a shocking run to promotion. They entered in the second qualifying round and beat fellow sixth-tier sides Gateshead and York City en route to the first round proper.

The Magpies beat League One’s Wigan in extra time before taking down another third-tier side, Peterborough United, and the Championship’s Derby County. A Premier League foe proved a bridge too far.