THERE was heartache for Kendal Town in their first cup final for eight years when Chorley came from a goal behind to lift the Lancashire FA Trophy at the Reebok Stadium.
An action-packed first half ended with Town skipper Marc Joseph heading home for the Cumbrians just two minutes before the break, but two second half goals were to prove the difference for Garry Flitcroft’s men.
Chorley flew out of the traps and won a corner after just 40 seconds when Chris Denham’s cross was deflected behind by Rory Winters.
Adam Roscoe got his head to Tom Ince’s corner but it was deflected behind and the follow up corner was headed wide by Andy Russell.
Chorley settled better and forged their second opening with just six minutes on the clock when Matt Walwyn danced through the centre but his half volley was wide of the mark.
Town’s first meaningful attack came on 16 minutes when Leadbetter stole the ball and played in Gary McEvatt.
McEvatt rounded Chorley stopper Russ Saunders but pushed out wide the Town striker could only hit the side netting.
Chorley continued to dominate though and should have broken the deadlock through Walwyn on 20 minutes when Tom Williams squared to him eight yards out, but he shot straight at Craig Dootson.
Dootson was to come to Town’s rescue minutes later when Walwyn’s deflected effort from 20 yards had to be pushed away from the top corner and behind.
Leading scorer Steve Foster headed straight at Dootson before Andy Teague shot wide from five yards.
But Town settled and carved their way into the game on 29 minutes when McEvatt latched on to a Mark Jackson cross but his second touch could only be poked at keeper Saunders and Carl Osman’s rebound fell wide of the mark.
Leadbetter had a free kick from 30 yards easily saved before Osman broke into the box on the left on 36 minutes but his shot was weak and Saunders collected.
The breakthrough came though on 43 minutes for Town but Flitcroft’s men lifted the trophy for a 15th time as his troops rallied in front of around 2,000 spectators.
They were level on 47 minutes when the influential Matt Walwyn forced Craig Dootson into conceding a corner.
Tom Ince’s inswinger was headed at goal by Teague but the rebound was followed in by Russell and he headed home at the back post.
The Magpies, who had won three of their last five matches, turned the game on its head in the 66th minute after a spell of Town pressure and it was Roscoe who scored the vital goal.
Town failed to pick up skipper Teague and as he squared to Roscoe, he controlled and volleyed home beyond Dootson.
Promotion-chasing Chorley kept on the attack through the pacy Walwyn and it was only a touch from Leadbetter that prevented them extending their lead as the Town midfielder deflected the ball behind on 70 minutes.
Ashcroft’s side are made of stern stuff and put Chorley under pressure with McEvatt and Osman going close before an Adam Farrell piledriver from 25 yards forced Russ Saunders into a fine save.
Ashley Dunn missed his kick six yards out to level for Town and there was still time for Ali Brown to break free in the 92nd minute but he hesitated and Town’s Joseph cleared.
It wasn’t to matter for Chorley though, who lift the cup and can now turn their attention back to the promotion chase.
For Town, their attention turns to Saturday’s home clash with Rushall Olympic before a trip to North Ferriby United in the Doodson Cup semi-final on Wednesday night (March 21).
Kendal Town: C Dootson 7, R Winters 6, D Williams 7 S Gray 7, M Joseph 7, K Leadbetter 7, C Osman 7, G McEvatt 7, A Farrell 7 (rep A Taylor 76mins), A Dunn 6, M Jackson 7 (rep C Donnelly 63mins) Subs: T Newton, J Tucker, T Kilifin.
STAR MAN: K Leadbetter – Tireless all evening and kept running until the whistle