Chorley's play-off challenge took a blow in West Yorkshire as they suffered a one goal defeat away to Bradford Park Avenue. Chib Chilaka's 25 yard striker in the second half enough to separate the sides writes Elliott Walsh.
It was never going to be an easy task for the Magpies who haven't won at the Horsfall stadium in recent years, Bradford appointed former Barrow manager Darren Edmondson as manager in the days before the game.
And the Avenue players were clearly out to give the new manager a good impression. Just 17 seconds into the game former Chorley man Adam Mather'a left footed shot from 20 yards forced a diving save from Sam Ashton to prevent a shot which seemed destined for the top corner of the goal.
The new manager effect continued. Richard Marshall found himself in space on the edge of the eighteen yard box. His shot was blocked by Meppen-Walter out for a corner. From the resulting ball into the area Craig King had a chance to put his side into the lead, finding himself in acres of space on the edge of the box, but he fluffed his lines and missed the ball entirely.
Avenue kept pushing for an early goal which their start deserved. Colley broke through on goal before his shot was charged down by Kiel O'Brien.
The Magpies had started deep to defend against the Bradford threat, restricting them to the counter. A good turn from Connerton allowed Stephenson to advance into the area. He tried a left foot effort which fizzed past Stewart and his far post.
Bradford fans kept their fans entertained on a cold night as the chances kept on coming. Craig King displayed a pair of fine touches in the area to bring the ball down. Sadly for the home side his third touch was a half volley which went well over the cross bar.
Edmondson would have been proud of his defence, led by Simon Ainge who kept Chorley out of their area. Jake Cottrell's long range effort, deflected out for a corner, summed up the game for the Magpies as they could not break down a solid defence.
Chilaka demonstrated his threat early on in the game. A run down the left bamboozled Paul Jarvis before drilling his shot just wide of Ashton's goal.
Colley was offered a presence for Bradford which was reminiscent of past James Dean performances. He caused problems all night but couldn't find a finish after being found by a Luke Dean through ball.
A crucial header from Mark Ross stopped Avenue taking what would perhaps have been a deserved lead. A cross from Marshall looked like being prodded home by Adam Mather, playing in an advanced role on the left for Bradford.
Against the run of play the Magpies were very close to scoring the opening goal. A training ground free kick from Whitham was delightfully chipped towards Lynch. He headed back across goal towards O'Brien who couldn't get the ball out of his feet before John Stewart smothered.
The start of the second half saw the visitors go close once again. Dale Whitham must have wished his studs were a little longer as he was inches away from getting onto the end of Stephenson's flick on.
And it proved crucial. Chilaka was the recipient of Marshall's pass before curling the ball from range over Ashton's head, going just under the cross bar on its way into the back of the net.
The Magpies nearly scored an equaliser just a minute later. Another free kick found its way towards Kieran Charnock at the far post. He tapped the ball into an empty net at the far post before the referee chose to chalk off the goal.
It proved to be a game changing moment. Chorley never looked like scoring an equaliser from that moment on, and instead it was Bradford who looked closer to adding the second goal of the game.
Colley and Chilaka both found themselves in the area but only found Ashton's gloves. Craig King had a golden chance on the break for a second goal late on but he sliced his shot wide of the goal.