Dean at the double as Magpies go top again

Jake Cottrell was in inspired for Chorley against Darwen
Jake Cottrell was in inspired for Chorley against Darwen

Chorley went back top of the Evo-Stik League Premier Division with victory over a dogged Stamford side.

A Dan Lawlor own goal gave the Magpies a half-time lead, before two second-half strikes from James Dean sealed the victory and opened up a two-point lead at the top of the table over Skelmersdale United.

The Magpies welcomed new signing Chris Almond into the side after the striker joined from Southport for an undisclosed fee last week.

Almond replaced the injured Josh Hine, who will be out for a number of weeks after undergoing a minor

operation.

Chorley started the game brightly and after just four minutes could have taken the lead but away goalkeeper Alex Lynch produced an excellent save diving to his right from a curling Keiran Walmsley

free-kick.

After a series of corners, Chorley had the second chance of the game but again Lynch was in fine form, tipping a Jack Dorney effort around the post.

As the rain poured, the game turned into an aerial battle, which certainly never worried Chorley, who had Dean marshalling the front line.

Just after the half-hour mark, Chorley almost took the lead but again they found the visiting goalkeeper in inspired form as Lynch tipped the ball round the post.

Almond almost had a dream debut but he blasted an effort over the bar from eight yards out.

Lynch then tipped a Paul Jarvis corner over the bar but from the resulting corner, Chorley took the lead.

Dorney whipped a corner in and from the slightest of touches off Lawlor, the ball evaded Lynch and ended up in the bottom corner.

With their tails up, Chorley continued to press and Jake Cottrell was unlucky to see his effort blocked after latching onto a Dean cross.

Five minutes from the break, Stamford had their first sight on goal.

After latching on to a misplaced Woolcott pass, Ryan Robbins took the ball past Keil O’Brien but he curled an effort wide of the right-hand post.

Minutes after the restart, Chorley could have doubled their lead but Cottrell was unlucky to see his effort blocked on the line.

Then Almond cut inside but his effort was comfortably saved.

Stamford then came into the game.

They pressured Chorley with Robbins, Nabil Sherrif and Shawn Richards all causing the Chorley back-line problems.

But after a strong period of play, Stamford found themselves 2-0 down.

Almond broke and sent Cottrell through on goal.

And as the former FC United man steadied himself to take the shot, Ryan Walker bundled him over leaving the referee no other option but to award a penalty.

Dean stepped up and despite the best efforts of Lynch the ball nestled in the right-hand corner.

The big striker then hit an effort wide of the post before minutes later he crossed for Whitham, but the latter’s effort also just went wide of the upright.

Jason Field then rattled the bar directly from a corner and with just four minutes left on the clock, the Magpies grabbed a third.

The impressive Mark Ross powered forward and sent in an excellent cross which left the easiest of tap-ins for Dean at the back post and seal an impressive 3-0 victory.

Leaders horley travel to Kings Lynn Town this coming Saturday in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division

(kick off 3pm).

Chorley: Ashton, Walmsley, Ross, O’Brien, Jarvis, Cottrell (Roscoe 65), Woolcott, Whitham, Dorney, Dean, Almond (Stephenson 80). Subs not used: Grundy (gk), Wiles, Vermiglio