Rangers no danger as Magpies reach summit

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Title-chasing Chorley sit top of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division after a dominant display in Staffordshire.

The Magpies took to the road again after Tuesday night’s excellent 3-1 home victory against Matlock Town.

And the away side mirrored the score again as they came away from Marston Road with all three points by defeating Stafford Rangers.

Goals from Josh Hine, James Dean and skipper Andy Teague sealed the victory on a poor pitch which most people would have been happy to call their cabbage patch.

And as title rivals AFC Fylde and Skelmersdale United both dropped points, it means the Magpies have a two-point cushion at the top, and with the luxury of a game in hand

Chorley welcomed back Dale Whitham from suspension and Paul Jarvis from injury, but the pair could only find spots on the bench as Garry Flicroft opted for the midfield partnership of Jake Cottrell and Paul Woolcott.

From the kick-off, Chorley looked to dominate a struggling Stafford side whose boss Andy Mutch admitted during the week that survival in the Evo-Stik NPL would be a tough task.

The Chorley midfield and front-line, both full of confidence, caused problems early on with Hine’s pace proving to be a key in all attacks Chorley made.

And it was Hine’s pace that led to the Magpies taking the lead.

After smart work from Adam Mather down the left-hand side, he linked up with Dean who showed excellent strength to send Hine through clear on goal.

Hine took the ball around Rangers keeper Jon Brain and the latter brought the frontman down, leaving the referee no other option but to point to the penalty spot.

Scrambling defenders saved Brain from receiving a red card although Chorley argued the goalkeeper was lucky to stay on the pitch.

But Hine picked himself up to send Brain the wrong way and give Chorley a deserved lead.

Despite a dominant display, Chorley could just manage the one goal prior to the half-time whistle.

But just a minute into the second half, Dean doubled the Magpies lead.

He switched a ball across field from the halfway line to play in Kieran Walmsley down the right-hand side.

Walmsley then found Hine, who whipped in a cross to find Dean at the back post where he made no mistake with his finish.

But then against the run of play, Sean Kinsella brought Stafford back into the game.

Kinsella struck an effort to wards goal which deflected off Keil O’Brien, which left Sam Ashton no chance in the Chorley goal.

But undeterred by the goal Chorley continued to press, passing the ball around in tough conditions.

And skipper Teague rose above everyone from a set-piece to head the ball in and restore the two-goal cushion.

Stafford keeper Brain then magnificently saved from Teague, who sent a shot destined for the top corner before the keeper tipped the effort over.

Brain was then called into action again as Cottrell controlled well and struck a volley towards goal, but his effort was tipped over.

The Magpies continued to press for the fourth goal by introducing Whitham and Jarvis but it wasn’t to be.

Chorley closed out the final moments of the game hearing chants of “We are top of the league” from the travelling Chorley faithful.

They go into Saturday’s FA Trophy home fixture against Matlock Town with all the confidence in the world of making it through to the first round proper.

Chorley: Ashton, Walmsley, Mather, Teague (c), O’Brien, Cottrell, Woolcott, Hine, Stephenson (Jarvis, 63), Dean, Roscoe (Whitam, 66). Subs not used: Wiles, Ross, Grundy (gk)