Ross’s wonder goal is catalyst for home win

Dale Whitham in action against Hednesford Town
Dale Whitham in action against Hednesford Town

A wonder strike from Mark Ross and a second-half James Dean goal gave the Magpies all three points in this the latest instalment of their Vanarama Conference North campaign.

In a dour first half, with chances few and far between, both sides looked to control the midfield, testing each other out without creating any clear-cut chances inside the first 15 minutes.

Jack Dorney was at least looking dangerous, and he had the best of the early openings, as he drilled a shot over the visitors’ bar.

Home keeper Sam Ashton was called upon to deflect a Danny Glover shot after an Alex Melbourne pull back.

And minutes later, Darren Stephenson’s effort on goal drifted wide after his turn and shot.

Dean then sent over a teasing left-wing cross which only just evaded Josh Hine’s head at the back post.

It was just a minute from half-time when the Magpies took the lead, with a goal from an unlikely source.

Right-back Mark Ross picked the ball up from Dorney on the wing and from fully 35 yards, unleashed an effort which beat Dan Crane in the Hednesford goal, to find the far top corner of the net.

The away side had a chance to respond almost immediately, when Tom Peers found himself with a sight on goal, but almost from nowhere, Tom Smyth got back to block a shot from the Hednesford forward.

Three minutes after the restart, Chorley could have easily gone further ahead.

Josh Hine found space on the right, but his effort was saved well by Crane’s legs.

Meanwhile, Hednesford looked to get back into the game with testing crosses, but without really threatening Ashton’s goal.

From a Dale Whitham corner, Crane punched to debutant Chris Doyle, and his header was cleared off the line by Bailey.

On the hour mark, Chorley extended their lead.

Hine, again, found space on the right, and his shot parried off Crane to the feet of Dean, who couldn’t fail to miss the target from 10 yards out.

Moments after, Garry Flitcroft’s men could have made it 3-0. Dorney found Dean inside the area, who turned and volleyed, but Crane saved well.

Ashton was on hand to keep an excellent clean sheet when he saved easily from a narrow Peers effort from inside the area, as well as tipping substitute Paul Sullivan’s cross over the bar, and comfortably saving from Francino Francis’ tame header.

James Hurst came closest to scoring for the visitors as his 25-yard drive rattled the Chorley crossbar.

But the Magpies held on well to beat a team who finished last season in one of the

play-off berths.

Chorley’s next game is in the FA Cup this Saturday when they take on North West Counties side Glossop North End at Victory Park (kick-off 3pm).

Chorley: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross, Adam Mather, Chris Doyle, Tom Smyth, Adam Roscoe, Josh Hine (Paul Jarvis 79), Dale Whitham (Jack Lynch 90), James Dean (Astley Mulholland 89), Jack Dorney, Darren Stephenson. Subs: Laquan Esdaille-Biney, Aaron Grundy

Attendance: 1,131