Magpies take huge step towards league honours

James Dean
James Dean

Chorley extended their lead at the top of the Evo-Stik League Premier Division to six points defeating already relegated Stocksbridge Park Steels 3-1.

Josh Hine had given Chorley the lead before Darren Stephenson doubled the lead one minute later, Jamie Smith hit back for the Steels who rarely troubled Sam Ashton through out the 90 minutes.

Hine then grabbed his second and Chorley’s 100th goal of the season in the second half and Chorley held on taking advantage of nearest rivals FC United 2-1 loss against Buxton.

The Magpies started the brighter of the two sides with Stephenson missing from seven yards after Hine broke down the right and pulled back for the former.

Chorley skipper Andy Teague then saw his header ruled out for offside as Chorley dominated their already relegated opponents in the early stages of the game.

Paul Jarvis, a late change in the starting line up after Jamie Vermiglio pulled out in the warm up hit an effort well wide of goal, before the table-toppers made their pressure tell taking the lead after 15 minutes.

Cottrell delicately chipped a ball from 30 yards and meeting the ball on the far right of the penalty area was Hine who struck a volley across Jack Ward into the left hand corner.

The Magpies doubled their lead one minute later, Stephenson making up for his early miss, breaking from the half way line and carrying the ball inside the area before slotting past ward.

But despite their early dominance, Stocksbridge hit back with a goal of their own, Nicholson and Paul Woolcott failing to clear the ball and with the latter slipping inside the area on hand was Smith to tap the ball into the far corner past a helpless Sam Ashton.

After the visitors hit back the game turned scrappy with Chorley opting for a more direct route and both sides failed to create any real chances.

The Magpies went in search of a third shortly after the break but James Dean scuffed an effort straight at Ward while Steels’ defender Brett Lucas found himself lucky to stay on the pitch after hacking down Stephenson on the edge of the penalty area.

After another scrappy spell in the game with both side struggling to retain possession, Chorley grabbed as they entered the final third of the game.

Stephenson broke down the left and his cross was met on the line by Hine who bundled the ball over to grab his second and Chorley’s 100th goal of the season.

Despite their two goal advantage, Chorley struggled to retain possession in a game which lacked fluency after the opening 20 minutes.

Dean then broke from the half way line firing an effort straight at Ward but in truth the second half saw little creativity from both sides and the Magpies held on to seal a vital three points.

Chorley : Ashton, Nicholson (Ross 61) , Cartwright (Anderton 49) , Teague (c), O’Brien, Cottrell, Hine, Jarvis, Dean, Woolcott, Stephenson (Almond 74).

Subs not used : Zibaka, Roscoe,