Stephenson’s rocket sends Saints tumbling to defeat
Supporters seeking goalmouth incident and excitement were served up a Hallowe’en Trick with few treats on an awkward pitch under grey Lancashire skies as both sides laboured to find any fluency.
The home side just about deserved their win, now unbeaten in the last four Victory Park league fixtures, and conjured the game’s only memorable moment as Stephenson fired home the 77th minute winner to earn all three points.
Saints’ best chance came early on when David Moyo headed down Eddie Odhiambo’s cross to find the industrious Glenn Walker but he unable to test keeper Sam Ashton.
Chorley produced some good crosses from both flanks that were well defended and keeper Sam Hornby dealt confidently with any threat. The Magpies broke incisively on several occasions and were thwarted only at the last but there was little to stir the blood of the 982 souls hoping for more.
With Steve Diggin and Richard Batchelor suspended and injury again denying manager Kevin Wilkin a full bench, the introduction of Stephan Morley on the hour and Owen Story late on saw Saints finally create some pressure but no clear goal chance.
Wilkin was sanguine after the game and offered no excuses. He said: “It was a scrappy game and far from a spectacle.
“Physically they were stronger, they played to the conditions getting the ball forward quickly. While we huffed and puffed and worked hard, the quality was not there when we needed it.
“There was not a lot in it but they probably looked the more likely to score. It is frustrating after the FA Cup win and the strong performance against Gainsborough but this reflects where we are at the moment.”