Table-toppers extend their lead at the top after battling win

Dale Whitham bagged a goal against Frickley Athletic

Dale Whitham bagged a goal against Frickley Athletic

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Chorley moved five points clear at the top of the Evo-Stik League Premier Division thanks to goals from James Dean and Dale Whitham against strugglers Frickley Athletic.

Dean, latched onto a through ball and finished well from inside the area to give the Magpies the lead, before Whitham converted a Paul Jarvis cross in stoppage time to seal a 2-0 victory.

Magpies goalkeeper Sam Ashton was a mere spectator throughout the 90 minutes and notched up his second clean sheet in a row.

It took until the 17th minute for Chorley to register their first effort on goal as Darren Stephenson produced a fine save from Tom Woodhead diving low to his right.

Jack Dorney then had an effort blocked inside the area, then at the other end both Fernando Moke and Jake Picton both had efforts flash wide of the goal.

Moke proved to be a thorn in the Chorley side as the tricky winger tormented full-back Keiran Walmsley for the remainder of the first half.

Frontman Stephenson then had a glorious chance to break the deadlock but he scuffed an effort from four yards and on the stroke of half-time Dorney prodded over a Stephenson cross come shot.

The second half was much of the same as the first, Frickley sitting deep and executing their game plan perfectly with the Chorley front line struggling to make real in roads into the final third of the pitch.

Luck didn’t seem to be on the Magpies side as Stephenson’s goal bound effort was blocked by Dean and Woodhead comfortably saved from a Jarvis shot.

Then with just 14 minutes remaining on the clock and time seemingly running out, Chorley took the lead.

From an Ashton kick, the ball was flicked on and Dean found himself one on one with an on-rushing Woodhead and the former fired the ball home into the bottom right hand corner to break the deadlock.

The final 10 minutes passed without any trouble for the Magpies and after Jake Cottrell broke from inside his own area he sent Jarvis clear down the left wing who crossed for an oncoming Whitham and the in-form midfielder made no mistake tapping the ball home into an empty net and seal a hard-fought victory.

Chorley entertain FC United of Manchester this Saturday at Victory Park, kick off 3pm.

A large crowd is expected down at Victory Park and all fans are encouraged to arrive early and avoid the queues.

Chorley: - Ashton, Walmsley, Jarvis, O’Brien, Ross, Woolcott, Dorney, Whitham (c), Cottrell, Dean( Zibaka, 93) , Stephenson (Roscoe, 83)

Subs not used: - Vermiglio, Wiles, Grundy (gk)

Attendance : - 593