Magpies up to second despite early setback

Jake Cottrell celebrates with Josh Hine, goalscorer James Dean and Dale Whitham
Jake Cottrell celebrates with Josh Hine, goalscorer James Dean and Dale Whitham

The gap at the top of the Evo-Stik League Premier Division has been cut to just one point after Chorley defeated Grantham Town 3-1 while table toppers Skelmersdale United could only draw.

Chorley fell behind early on as Alex Burberry converted from the penalty spot in the 20th minute.

But James Dean equalised in the 36th minute before second-half goals from Josh Hine and Dale Whitham secured all three points and a second consecutive 3-1 victory.

And other results went the way of the Magpies at the weekend with now third-place Worksop Town losing 3-2 to AFC Fylde while FC United needed to score late to grab a point against Ilkeston.

Prior to the game, the Magpies announced a lucrative three-year away shirt sponsorship deal with home shirt sponsors Envirocare.

A minute’s applause was also held for former Magpies midfielder Paul Comstive, who has sadly passed away.

After a quiet opening to the game at Victory Park, it was Chorley who had the first chance but the prolific Hine could only skew a volley well wide of the post.

Then in the 20th minute, there was a bad moment for the home side as Keil O’Brien handled the ball, leaving the referee no other option but to point to the spot.

Burberry stepped up and slammed the ball into right-hand corner, sending Sam Ashton the wrong way.

The goal seemed to spark the Magpies into life with the Victory Park outfit looking to pass the ball rather than the more direct approach they offered in the opening period of the game.

The Gingerbreads struggled to cope with the passing ability of Chorley and goalkeeper Dan Haystead had to be at full stretch to tip a Whitham effort onto the crossbar.

Six minutes later, Chorley were level after excellent work from Hine down the right flank.

Hine attacked left-back Lee Ridley and made his way into the box before unleashing a powerful shot which Haystead could only palm into the path of Dean, who made no mistake tapping the ball in.

Whitham then forced Haystead into another save but the home side were unable to get their noses in front prior to the half-time whistle.

It was Whitham again involved in the action two minutes after the break but his goalbound shot was blocked yards from goal.

Chorley continued to cause problems but it wasn’t all one-way traffic as Jamie Jackson produced a smart save from Ashton.

But just after the hour mark, Chorley did forge into the lead.

Dean dinked a ball over the top to Hine, who made no mistaking lobbing the on-rushing Haystead.

Former Fylde man Dean forced Haystead into a brilliant one-handed save before, one minute later, substitute Paul Jarvis crossed for Whitham who made no mistake in firing the ball into the right-hand corner.

Adam Roscoe missed a chance late on for Chorley as the home side saw the game out with minimal fuss.

Chorley: Ashton, Ross, Mather, O’Brien, Teague, Cottrell, Woolcott, Whitham, Stephenson (Jarvis 57), Hine, Dean (Roscoe 78)

Subs not used: Wiles, Vermiglio, Meaney