Tamworth 2, Chorley 1

Goalscorer Darren Stephenson
Goalscorer Darren Stephenson

CHORLEY’S 2-1 loss at Tamworth – their fourth successive away defeat – surely extinguished the Chorley’s Nationa League North play-offs aspirations.

The Magpies’ results on the road since the turn of the year have simply not been good enough with just one win, at doomed Hednesford Town, from eight games.

In fairness, they offered more here than in the previous three away matches and home keeper James Belshaw made at least two crucial saves. Andy Teague was very unlucky to see his header hit the underside of the bar moments before Tamworth went ahead.

Chorley also had every right to feel aggrieved four minutes from time when the softest of penalty awards enabled the Lambs to go 2-0 up before Darren Stephenson’s 17th goal of the season in added time at last ended six hours of scoreless Magpies’ endeavour.

Sam Ashton made a smart near-post save from an early Dan Newton drive and following a period of even exchanges, Chorley had a purple patch ahead of the interval.

Belshaw saved well from Stephenson at his near post before the Chorley striker fluffed a golden opportunity to grab the lead on 43 minutes.

Receiving Jordan Connerton’s square pass six yards out, Stephenson failed to get his shot on target. Then Belshaw pulled off a flying save to keep out a curling Jake Cottrell effort.

The Magpies’ luck was out five minutes into the second half when following a short corner routine Teague’s header struck the bar and the ball was hooked clear.

Then on 54 minutes Tamworth went in front. A corner was not cleared and Ross Dyer fired into the net in-off the near post.

A penalty on 86 minutes sealed the game for the Lambs. There appeared to be minimal contact when Dyer went to ground challenged by Kieran Charnock but the referee pointed to the spot and Elliott Durrell scored easily.

Stephenson finally hit the target in added time, squeezing a shot just inside the post but it was too late to salvage anything for the visitors who had fashioned more clear chances than the hosts but been unable to convert them into goals.