London, Jan 9 (AFP/APP): Non-league Chorley knocked coronavirus-ravaged Derby out of the FA Cup with a surprise 2-0 win on Saturday, while West Brom suffered an embarrassing exit against Blackpool as the spiking pandemic took its toll on the third round.
Derby were forced to play with only Under-23 and Under-18 players after their first-team squad and interim manager Wayne Rooney were ruled out following a virus outbreak at the Championship club.
Chorley, from the sixth-tier National League North, took advantage of Derby’s weakened line-up, all making their debuts and with an average of 19, to reach the fourth round for the first time.
It was Chorley’s third league scalp in the FA Cup this season after previous wins against Wigan and Peterborough. In freezing conditions, with snow cleared off the pitch before kick-off, Chorley went ahead after 10 minutes when Derby failed to clear a long throw and Connor Hall nodded over the line.
Chorley’s modest Victory Park ground is so homely that one fan was able to watch from over their back garden fence, while two others used a cherry picker crane to get a glimpse of the action.
Those enterprising fans saw Chorley’s Mike Calveley seal their side’s memorable success when he poked home from close range in the 84th minute.
The cup upset was a welcome boost for Chorley manager Jamie Vermiglio, whose job as a primary school headteacher has been thrown into chaos by the current national lockdown in Britain.
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