Chorley recorded a hard fought one-nil win against strugglers Stalybridge Celtic to move back into the play-off places after last weekend’s inactivity.
The goal, scored second before the break from the penalty spot by James Dean, was scant reward for a first half that Chorley totally dominated.
Playing down the Bower Fold slope, Chorley were on top for the kick-off. Adam Mather flashed a cross into the box, but the ball evaded everyone, then a Josh Hine shot was deflected for a corner.
There were half hearted shots for a penalty after Dean tumbled after clashing with Celtic keeper Lewis King, but the referee didn’t want to know - something that would happen time and again as the game went on.
Michael Potts, brother of ex-Magpies Colin and currently on loan from AFC Fylde, shot straight at Sam Ashton from the edge of the box in a foray uphill by the home side as the hosts failed to make home advantage count.
Dale Whitham saw an effort cleared off the line, Andy Teague shot just wide then the captain headed over a Whitham free-kick as the Magpies looked to convert pressure into goals.
Just to remind the Magpies of the need to make chances count, Kevin Holsgrove clipped the woodwork but Ashton had the effort comfortably covered.
Teague was again in action in attack, headed a Mather cross narrowly over then a Mark Ross centre was deflected for a corner; Mather swung the ball in but Dean’s header failed to trouble the keeper.
King kept the Magpies out, saving with his legs, and the rebound was hacked to safety as Whitham was about to pounce.
With the clock ticking closer to the interval it looked likely to be scoreless at half time, but two challenge in the matter of seconds resulting in the decisive penalty kick.
First Aaron Burns was scythed down on the wing, and to the amazement of all from Chorley the officials failed to react, however Hine did and he advanced into the box beating two defender, Stefan Galinski and Nathan Heath for skill and pace, however the latter’s attempted tackle saw Hine tumble and the penalty was awarded. Deano stepped up and slammed the ball home.
After the break, and now playing up the hill, the level of domination shown in the first half was always going to be difficult to repeat, however the Magpies continues to press the home side back, but were now more vulnerable to being his on the counter with gravity now in opposition.
Teague, again, headed over with the first chance of the half, then Burns was adjudged to have deliberately handballed by the referee’s assistant, the referee booking the Chorley striker on his advice.
Adam Roscoe curled s shot wide then Dean forced King into a decent save.
Jamie Allen then forced Ashton into quick thinking action, the Chorley stopper saving well in a one-on-one situation from the recent signing from AFC Fylde.
Roscoe drilled an effort at goal which King palmed away, then Paul Ennis show wide when he could and should have done better with a clear sight of goal – a let off for Chorley!
Ashton denied Potts then Scott Kerr shot wide as the home side enjoyed a period of pressure as the game moved into the final twenty minutes.
A momentary lack of concentration from Whitham saw him lose the ball on the half-way line; Celtic broke in numbers but Allen tamely side footed the ball out of play when a shot on target was begging to be taken.
Jack Dorney almost caught King off his line with a chipped effort as the 90 ended and the 4 minutes of time added began.
As there always seems to be in every game at every level, deep in time added on there was one glorious chance, thankfully Ennis spurned his opportunity with Ashton pushing his effort wide to ensure all three points returned Victory Park.
Elsewhere tonight there was just one other league game played and the result will give Chorley supporters mixed feelings. Ideally a draw between Guiseley and AFC Fylde would have been the best result for Chorley, but the Yorkshire side beat our Lancashire neighbours, repeating our score line at Kellamergh Park ten days ago.
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross, Adam Mather, Andy Teague, Matthew Flynn, Adam Roscoe, Josh Hine, Dale Whitham, James Dean (Simm, 90) Aaron Burns (Cottrell, 82), Jack Dorney
Subs: Harry Winter, Jack Lynch, Jake Cottrell, Chris Simm, Chris Almond.
Goal: JAMES DEAN (45 pen)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Josh Hine, back to his best tonight terrorising the opposition throughout