Chorley came home from Yorkshire empty handed after losing by the odd goal of three at Harrogate Town.
Playing on Harrogate’s 3G surface for the first time there were hopes before kick-off of a repeat of our victory on a similar surface at Tamworth earlier in the season, but a 13th minute penalty converted by Joe Leesley made everything think again.
After a tight opening where the Magpies were trying to get used to the exaggerated bounce, Paul Jarvis was adjudged to have brought down Lewis Turner just inside the box. Up stepped Leesley to send Ritchie Branagan the wrong way from 12 yards.
Shorlty after the game was halted for five minutes as the masked Lloyd Kerry received treatment before being stretchered off after an innocuous tackle near the half way line.
When the game restarted Chorley started to take the game to their hosts with Marcus Carver carving out a chance, racing through the defence but taking one touch too many before shooting, giving Peter Crook an easier chance to block the shot.
From the following corner Town broke but were denied by a superb stop from Branagan.
Wing-back Matt Challoner surged into the box, but his cutback was cleared for a corner, from which Jack Sampson headed narrowly wide, the minutes later the loan-striker had an effort saved by Crook following knock-down from Carver.
On 37 minutes Jake Cottrell, one of a number of players to appear to not be 100% comfortable on the artificial surface, brought down Liam Agnew near the corner flag. The resulting free-kick was whipped in by Leesley and Simon Ainge headed in unchallenged at the far post to double the home sides advantage.
The arrears was soon reduced when Sampson hooked home from 8 yards following a Matt Challoner throw in, the strikers sixth goal in eight league games.
Jarvis sliced a volley wide then Blakeman shot over before Branagan was forced to pull off two top drawer saves to ensure there was only one goal between the sides at the break.
After the restart a miss-timed clearance from Andy Teague fell nicely for John-Paul Pitman, but the Town striker lifted the ball over Branagan and the bar to the Magpies skipper’s relief.
Jarvis had an effort blocked then Leather at the other end threw his body at the ball to keep Town out.
Leather was the withdrawn with Jason Walker being added to the frontline.
The closest so far to a Chorley equaliser came in the 73rd minutes when Crook tipped a Warren Burrell back header onto his own bar and over to prevent an own goal.
Robbie McDaid and Josh O’Keefe were brought on in quick succession for Carver and Dale Whitham with Teague being added to the front line and Matt Jansen search for a point but the nearest we came to scoring was a scuffed Challoner cross the Crook almost carried over his own line.
With time having run out Stephen Jordan conceded a penalty as Town hit on the break, but this time Branagan saved Leesley’s spot-kick.
Starting XI: Ritchie Branagan, Matt Challoner, Paul Jarvis, Andy Teague, Scott Leather, Stephen Jordan, Adam Blakeman, Dale Whitham, Marcus Carver, Jack Sampson, Jake Cottrell
Subs: Kieran Charnock, Robbie McDaid (Carver, 77), Adam Roscoe, Josh O'Keefe (Whitham, 81) , Jason Walker (Leather, 69)
Goals: Joe Leesley (13, pen) Simon Ainge (38), JACK SAMPSON (42)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Ritchie Branagan, made some crucial saves to keep the Magpie sin with a chance