Walker delivers Magpies' win
Chorley 1 Stalybridge Celtic 0Jason Walker bagged his first goal in a Chorley shirt as the Magpies secured their second 1-0 victory of the Bank Holiday weekend.
The former Barrow hitman struck the decisive blow in the 20th minute to earn another hard-fought win hot on the heels of Saturday’s 1-0 triumph at Worcester City.
Matt Jansen’s high-flying Magpies totally dominated a one-sided first half and should have had more to show for their industry than Walker’s solitary strike.
But a demanding schedule of three games in six days then inevitably started to take its toll and the Magpies had to dig deep to record a fourth win of the season and a fifth clean sheet in six games.
Lowly Celtic had arrived on the back of a wretched run of five consecutive defeats and without a manager after Liam Watson resigned for personal reasons over the weekend.
The Celts also had history against them, having failed to register a win at Victory Park since a 3-2 triumph in October 1991.
The first half went by the form book as the Magpies threatened to run riot.
Livewire striker Marcus Carver had an early effort booted off the line before strike partner Walker then raced clear and was only denied by a last-ditch save from Tony McMillan.
The Magpies looked in the mood and Carver was denied again when his snapshot was deflected agonisingly over the crossbar.
The pressure finally told in the 20th minute courtesy of a brilliantly worked corner routine.
Dale Whitham dinked a cross to the far post which was headed back across goal by Carver and Walker raced in to score with a diving header from six yards out.
By now the Magpies had their tails up and they could have put the game to bed by half time.
Impressive midfielder Adam Blakeman fashioned another opening for Carver, who was desperately unlucky to see his snaking drive cannon back off the bar.
Then full-back Waqar Azam suffered similar misfortune when his rasping drive ricocheted off McMillan and struck the keeper’s right hand post.
The home side’s energy levels dipped after the break in the blistering sunshine which allowed Celtic to try and get back into the game.
But with Scott Leather and Stephen Jordan in imperious form at the back, home keeper Sam Ashton was rarely tested as Celtic huffed and puffed in their pursuit of an equaliser.
A flurry of substitutions gave the Magpies fresh impetus and they had a strong shout for a penalty late on when Sefton Gonzales appeared to be tripped in the box but the referee waved away the home team’s appeals.
As it turned out they did not need it.
Chorley: Ashton, Azam, Beesley (O’Keefe 66), Charnock, Leather, Jordan, Blakeman, Whitham (c), Carver (Roscoe 80), Walker (Gonzales 72), Cottrell. Subs not used: Jarvis, Challoner