Beaten Magpies need to find the killer instinct
Chorley 0 Harrogate Town 1This was another wake-up call for the shot-shy Magpies in the National League North, writes MIKE NEILD.
Since their exhilarating 3-0 romp at leaders Salford before Christmas, the Magpies have now gone three games without a goal.
They flattered to deceive against second-placed Harrogate with some promising openings in the first half but there was no end-product and the longer the match went on there was only one team looking capable of nicking it.
Which is exactly what happened nine minutes from time when a floated cross-cum-shot by the impressive Jordan Thewlis sailed beyond keeper Matt Urwin and dropped into the net at the far post.
The Magpies tested James Belshaw in the Town goal early in the game, both Nick Haughton and Will Beesley having shots saved but the keeper did even better to deny Marcus Carver with a smart save at his near post.
There was a scare at the other end when only a late intervention by Urwin prevented a Beesley back-pass from creeping into the Chorley net.
The home side offered little going forward after the break and Harrogate grew in self-belief.
Urwin excelled by palming to safety a Thewlis effort heading for the top corner and it needed a linesman’s flag for offside to rule out a clever flicked finish by Thewlis.
With nine minutes to go Thewlis finally got the goal he deserved, and Harrogate had the chance in the closing minutes to rubber-stamp their win from the penalty spot after Matt Challoner had brought down Joe Leesley.
The striker picked himself up and took the penalty only for Urwin to pull off a tremendous save.
With faltering Salford City held at Stockport, Harrogate moved within two points of the summit but Chorley’s season is in danger of imploding unless they can recruit a genuine goal-getter.
Only bottom-placed North Ferriby have netted fewer goal than the Magpies.