Magpies’ play-off dream still alive

Darren Stephenson scored the second for Chorley (photo: Josh Vosper)

Darren Stephenson scored the second for Chorley (photo: Josh Vosper)

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The embers of Chorley’s National League North play-offs hopes flickered into flame again after a hard-earned 2-0 victory at home to Boston United took them to within six points of a play-offs place.

But Boston’s own promotion aspirations took a second knock in successive matches following their heavy defeat at Fylde last Saturday.

Yet the visitors showed plenty of fight here and Chorley were often stretched in the second half to hold onto a lead gained just before half-time, until Darren Stephenson settled the nerves with a clinching second goal six minutes from time.

There were few high-spots in a scrappy opening half. Dale Whitham’s in-swinging corner forced keeper Fabian Spiess to flip the ball over the bar, before Jay Rollins fired Boston’s first serious shot, a wickedly swerving 25-yard drive which Sam Ashton turned for a corner.

The hard-working Magpies began to gain the ascendancy and Stephenson’s penetrating run culminated in a fierce cross-shot which flashed across the face of goal.

The opening goal in the 45th minute was a memorable home-debut moment for Courtney Meppen-Walter,who rifled home a cracking shot from the edge of the box after two previous efforts had been charged down.

Boston predictably raised the tempo on the resumption and danger-man Kaine Felix cut inside to force a smart near-post save from Ashton.

Chorley were unable to create much in attack until midway through the half when Andy Teague’s header from a free-kick sailed just wide.

Felix was only just off-target with another snap-shot, before Jordan Connerton threatened to double the home side’s lead, his header from Whitham’s centre demanding a diving stop from Spiess. The Pilgrims’ pressure almost paid off when the ever-dangerous Felix struck a post with Ashton beaten.

But Chorley promptly capitalised on the escape to wrap up the points on 84 minutes. Stephenson was sent clear and saw his well-placed shot hooked off the line but only as far as Connerton who returned the ball into the middle for Stephenson to hammer it into the roof of the net from six yards.

CHORLEY: Ashton, Ross, Jarvis (Charnock,41), Teague, O’Brien, Meppen-Walter (Roscoe,67), Lynch (Dorney,76), Whitham, Connerton, Stephenson, Cottrell. Unused subs. Dean,Cookson.

Attendance: 823.