Jamie Vermiglio fumes after under-par Chorley see their lead cut at the top

Magpies boss Jamie Vermiglio
Magpies boss Jamie Vermiglio
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Alfreton Town 2 Chorley 1

Two goals in as many minutes early in the second half consigned an under-strength Chorley to an unexpected defeat which sees their lead at the top of the National League North trimmed to three points.

Manager Jamie Vermiglio did not mince his words after seeing his side fail to hold on to an interval lead and match a direct, no-frills Alfreton team, who consistently gave the Magpies little room or time on the ball.

“The result was disappointing but I was even more disappointed by our performance,” said Vermiglio.

“Silly errors led to their two goals and collectively as a team we have not been good enough today.”

The Magpies were perhaps crucially without centre-back Scott Leather and influential playmaker Elliot Newby, while leading scorer Josh Wilson was on left on the substitutes’ bench.

In the event, Alfreton won the majority of the individual battles and carried the greater goal-scoring threat.

Even so, Chorley had the advantage of a half-time lead but once behind they failed to test Alfreton keeper Sam Ramsbottom and the hosts’ victory margin would have been wider had they not wasted the chance to add a third goal from a penalty.

In a bright opening, Alex Newby forced Ramsbottom into a good save but on-target goal attempts were few prior to Marcus Carver putting the Magpies in front on 37 minutes.

Adam McGurk threaded an inviting diagonal pass into the box which Carver anticipated to score from close range.

The game was turned on its head 10 minutes after the restart.

Alfreton caught Chorley on the break and Andy Teague made a last-ditch goalline clearance but the ball spun into the air and Daniel Clarke reacted quickest to head home.

A minute later the Magpies fell behind when always-lively Town substitute Daniel O’Brien netted from just inside the Chorley half.

The goal was reminiscent of a similar strike for Chorley by Nick Haughton in the corresponding fixture last season.

O’Brien spotted Matt Urwin well off his line and judged his lob from fully 40 yards to perfection, the ball sailing beyond Urwin into the empty net.

Both Adam Blakeman and Carver shot wide as the visitors sought to recover from the shock, before in the 70th minute Teague brought down Clarke.

Jordan Sinnott fired the resultant penalty over the bar.

As Chorley strove to rescue a point, Courtney Meppen-Walter charged forward unchecked only to drag his shot wide.

Then substitute Louis Almond worked himself an opening but the shot this time was too high.

The final chance in added time fell to substitute James Hooper but his free-kick also failed to hit the target.

CHORLEY: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague (Wilson 76), Jordan, Meppen-Walter, A Newby, O’Keefe, Carver, McGurk (Almond 68), Cottrell (Hooper 80). Subs (not used): Leather, Anson.

Attendance: 536.