Facing the longest away trip in the league this season against a side in good form at home many would have thought a draw at The Walks would have been a good result. But not this group of players!
Already having to start the game without the injured trio of captain Andy Teague, Adam Mather and Josh Hine, James Dean added to the selection problems for manager Garry Flitcroft when he was taken ill overnight. Missing four key players would be a major handicap to any club and the strength in depth of Garry’s squad would truly be tested today.
Having won their last four home games, hosts Kings Lynn Town were fifth in the league at kick-off and looking to maintain their hopes of a second successive promotion, and provided a stern test of the Magpies title credentials.
As ever the wind was in attendance today blowing into Lancastrian faces in the first half but this didn’t prevent Chorley from going close with the first chance of the game on two minutes when Chris Almond pounced on a mistake at the back but couldn’t find a way past keeper Alex Street as couldn’t stand-in skipper Dale Whitham six minutes later when Street saved his effort following a Keiran Walmsley free-kick.
On the quarter hour mark the hosts won a free-kick following a Paul Jarvis foul, and from the resulting dead ball a goalmouth scramble ensued but after two attempts at goal were block the Magpies cleared the danger.
New signing David Bell had an impressive first half for Town. The former Notts County player putting in a series dangerous crosses to test the improvised Magpies backline.
Adam Roscoe headed a Jarvis ball over, then Jake Jones at the other end shot narrowly wide after being release by Bell.
Jarvis and Dorney combines to tee-up Whitham who was again thwarted by the agile Street.
Mark Ross headed another Bell ball clear then Almond latched onto a pitch length punt from Sam Ashton, but his shot was weak.
Ten minutes before the break Almond thought he netted but the liners flag denied him is maiden goal.
Jake Cottrell had a thunderous shot blocked then Ashton saved from Gary Mills and the half ended as it started; nil-nil.
After the break a Ross header cleared another dangerous centre from Bell then Jason Lee (not the ‘pineapple’ one) almost netted an OG.
Whitham was about to pull the trigger when the ball was nicked away from him then his shot over from a tight angle after a chest-down from Roscoe.
Town made a couple of changes and immediately Charley Sanders threaten, putting in a low cross but Ashton gathered well.
The all action Whitham headed over from a Dorney cross after the winger skipped into the box then a second goal was disallowed when Dorney netted from close range following a parried shot from Roscoe.
However two minutes later the ball nestelled in the net for a third time, and this time it stood. Substitute Darren Stephenson latched onto a Walmsley defence splitting pass. The strikers’ first effort was blocked by the keeper, but the ball ricocheted off a defender back into his path and his netted his sixteenth goal of the season.
Five minutes from time is was game set and match when Whitham picked himself up to slot his own penalty kick for his ninth of the season and ensure maximum points returned to Lancashire.
Elsewhere Skelmersdale beat Buxton two-nil, AFC Fylde were in Doodson Cup action, Ashton United lost by the odd goal in three at Stamford and Blyth beat Worksop four-two at home. Worksop’s game at home to Nantwich was postponed.
On Tuesday night we entertain Frickley Athletic at The Chorley Group Victory Park Stadium. With Witton Albion v. FC United being the only other league game being played this midweek we have the opportunity to extend our lead at the top of the league to five points with one of our games in hand.
Chorley XI: Sam Ashton, Keiran Walmsley, Paul Jarvis, Mark Ross, Keil O’Brien, Jake Cottrell, Chris Almond, Paul Woolcott, Adam Roscoe, Dale Whitham, Jack Dorney
Subs: Jamie Vermiglio, Darren Stephenson (Almond, 72), Simon Wiles, Brandon Zibaka, Aaron Grundy
Goals: DARREN STEPHENSON (74), DALE WHITHAM (85 Pen)