Chorley got back to winning ways with a comfortable victory over bottom placed Altrincham at The Chorley Group Victory Park Stadium.
Following the defeat at Halifax and last week’s last minute postponement at Boston the team put in a professional performance.
New signing Jack Sampson, on loan until the end of the season, marked his debut with the opening goal on 12 minutes and Jake Cottrell added a second 14 minutes later with a super header to go into the break with a comfortable lead. Although no further goals were added in the second half no stage was Ritchie Branagan’s goal was threatened and the team secured our fifteenth league clean sheet this season.
The match was preceded by a minutes silence for stalwart Ian Humphries, a forward for the club during the 1970’s, playing over 100 games for The Magpies in an eight year spell at Victory Park.
When the game kicked off it was cagey encounter for the opening ten minutes, but a cynical foul on Will Beesley proved costly for the visitors, as from this free-kick a corner was awarded the gifted Sampson an easy header for his debut goal.
Adam Blakeman’s 12th minute delivery from the right corner was perfect for the new striker, who rose unchallenged to divert the ball goalward to kick-off his Chorley career with a goal, a goal four weeks in the making as manager Matt Jansen has been chasing the Macclesfield frontman since December.
Dale Whitham was unlucky with a superb 35-yard volley attempted that looped over the well beaten Alty keeper Tim Deasy but cannoned back of the post – well worth a watch on Magpie TV.
Soon after Stephen Jordan was taken off as a precaution following tweak to his hamstring, Andy Teague a more than capable replacement for the form Premier League player.
The second goal wasn’t long coming, just three minutes after Whitham’s effort, and capped a spell of Magpie pressure. Teague delivered a superb deep cross into the box and Cottrell dived to meet the cross and superbly nodded a looping header over Deasy and under the bar for his fourth goal of the season; Jake’s almost becoming prolific!
Sampson, a player in the same mould has his striker partner Marcus Carver, was a danger to the visitors back line all afternoon and showed quick feet and a great touch to beat two men and cross from wide late in the first half, unfortunately no-one was on the end of it.
Just before the break the visitors had their only opening of the half, a wayward header over the bar from a corner.
After the restart a scrappy second half got underway and Beesley, using his pace down the left flank, crossed to Sampson but the striker was tackled in the box before his could shoot.
Carver, a tireless worker throughout, was withdrawn on 60 minutes with second new signing Robbie McDaid replacing him.
On 62 minutes Altrincham forced a corner with a shot from the edge of the box that was deflected wide, but Branagan had the initial shot covered.
At the end of a scrappy and mainly uneventful second half, the three points pushed the season’s tally onto 50 points; just six behind long-time leaders AFC Fylde who lost at Curzon Ashton while we remained level with Kidderminster Harriers who won thanks to an 85th minute winner at home to Telford United.
Starting XI: Ritchie Branagan, Matt Challoner, Will Beesley, Scott Leather, Kieran Charnock, Stephen Jordan, Adam Blakeman, Dale Whitham, Marcus Carver, Jack Sampson, Jake Cottrell
Subs: Robbie McDaid (Carver 60), Andy Teague (Jordan, 23), Josh O'Keefe, Waqas Azam, Adam Roscoe (Beesley, 86)
Goals: JACK SAMPSON (12), JAKE COTTRELL (26)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Jack Sampson, a superb debut capped with a deserved goal.