Chorley returned to the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division with a comfortable three-nil victory over Stamford on another wet and windy day at The Chorley Group Victory Park Stradium.
Chorley dominated the game but only went in at the break one-up thanks to a Daniel Lawlor own goal, but two goals from in for striker James Dean in the second half secured another vital win and moved the Magpies two points clear of the inactive Skelmersdale United.
In front of another impressive crowd of 875, especially when you consider the conditions, Chorley got off to a bright start and Keiran Walmsley almost netted after just four minutes, but his curling free-kick was acrobatically saved by visiting keeper Alex Lynch.
Chris Almond, who only joined the club yesterday from Southport, went straight into the starting eleven in place of the recuperating Josh Hine while Walmsley started his first game since early November in place of the injured skipper Andy Teague; Dale Whitham wore the armband today.
In the opening stages Chorley bossed the game, forcing a series of corners, but with a strong wind at their backs they were often fighting just to keep the ball
Lynch was a busy man, saving from Jack Dorney, scooping a Whitham header around the post and tipping a Paul Jarvis corner over his bar, while at the far end Sam Ashton was a spectator!
Where the Magpies so far failed Lawlor succeeded! Dorney whipped a corner into the box and the slightest flick of Lawlor’s head deceived Lynch and the ball ended up in the bottom corner.
With their tails up Chorley pressed for a second and Jake Cottrell was unlucky to see his close range effort from a Dean cross blocked.
Five minutes from the break and Stamford got their first sight of Ashton’s goal, but after Ryan Robbins latched onto a Paul Woolcott misplaced pass his wasted the chance shooting well wide.
After the restart Cottrell again had a close range effort blocked, again from a Dean cross, then Almond cut inside but shot straight at the keeper.
The visitors then edged into the game with Robbins, Nabil Shariff and Shawn Richards causing the Magpies defence problems, but despite their best efforts it was soon game over.
Almond hit on the break and sent Cottrell clear, but as the midfielder steadied himself to shoot he was bundled over by Ryan Walker and a penalty was awarded, which Dean dispatched despite Lynch getting a hand onto the ball.
Dean was a constant threat and Stamford just didn’t know how to handle the big striker who when not shooting was creating opening for his teammates. On 67 minutes he fashion an opening for himself but shot wide then crossed for Whitham who’s initial header was blocked then saw the follow up go inches wide.
At the other end, with the wind assisting, Jason Field saw a corner bounce off the bar; the closest Stamford came to breaching Ashton’s goal.
With the end in sight the third was added. Mark Ross, despite playing in the centre, still managed the occasional marauding run forward and on 86 minutes his deep in swinger was kneed in at the back stick by Deano for his fifteenth goal of the season.
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Keiran Walmsley, Paul Jarvis, Mark Ross, Keil O'Brien, Jake Cottrell, Chris Almond, Paul Woolcott, James Dean, Dale Whitham, Jack Dorney
Subs: Adam Roscoe (Cottrell, 65) , Darren Stephenson (Almond, 80), Jamie Vermiglio, Simon Wiles, Aaron Grundy
Goals: OWN GOAL (Daniel Lawlor, 37), JAMES DEAN (64 pen, 86)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: James Dean, unplayable!