Magpies return to the top with victory over Witton

Max Cartwright
Max Cartwright

Chorley returned to the top of the Evo Stik League Premier Division with a battling 1-0 victory over strugglers Witton Albion.

Dale Whitham’s solitary strike with 12 minutes remaining sealed back to back wins for the Magpies.

It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides, with Josh Hancock forcing Sam Ashton into a smart save from a 30 yard free kick.

Former Fleetwood Town man Alex Titchiner then fired a right footed shot across goal before the Magpies were dealt an early blow as skipper Andy Teague was withdrawn after struggling with a bout on tonsillitis.

Titchiner’s pace proved to be a threat all evening, with the tricky forward getting in behind Max Cartwright but he could only blaze a shot over the bar.

With both sides struggling to retain possession chances became a rarity in the opening half with both goalkeepers mere spectators.

The Magpies started the brighter of the two sides in the second half, Darren Stephenson scuffing a shot in front of goal then James Dean headed wide from a Jake Cottrell cross.

Chorley continued to attack and should have taken the lead after 55 minutes - Stephenson beat the offside trap connecting with a Dean through ball but his effort was saved by the onrushing Matthew Cooper.

The game started to open up with the visitors having an effort cleared off the line from after Ashton struggled to claim a Gardner cross.

Titchiner again had another chance for the visitors but after cutting inside Mark Ross his well struck shot just sailed over the crossbar.

Substitute Jack Dorney then chipped an effort inches wide of goal after a poor headed clearance from Cooper.

The breakthrough came with just 12 minutes remaining, Cartwright whipped in a free kick from the right and rising above everybody was Whitham whose header sailed into the top corner.

Witton went in search of an equaliser but the young Chorley back line stood firm, on loan Preston North End defender Nick Anderton particularly impressing.

Chorley stood firm in the final few minutes and held on to seal a precious three points.

Chorley : Ashton, Nicholson, Cartwright, Teague (c) (Anderton 13) , Ross, Cottrell (Dorney 67) , Hine, Vermiglio (Woolcott 70) , Dean, Whitham, Stephenson

Subs not used: Almond, Roscoe