When the business end of the season arrives, it’s the points that matter and Chorley had to grind out all three against a resolute Worcester City who are fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the league table.
With Stephen Jordan side lined due to injury Keiran Charnock returned to the starting line-up while Paul Jarvis made way for the fit again Jack Sampson, with Adam Blakeman switching to left-back.
The first half got off to a busy start with Charnock going close from a Blakeman free-kick on six minutes, but then the tension, weather and difficult playing surface turning the opening half hour into a scrappy encounter.
Proceedings sparked to life on the half hour mark when following a Sampson long through the ball was returned to the striker out wide and his whipped in ball fell to captain Andy Teague and the big-man’s shot was smashed into the roof of stand!
Minutes later Jason Walker, playing in the ‘hole’ behind Sampson and Marcus Carver, headed narrowly wide then following a Blakeman delivery the ball landed at Charnock’s feet; unfortunately, it was behind him and the ball was flicked away from his heals by a defender before he could adjust his position.
With five minutes of the half remaining Chorley were awarded a penalty when Blakeman was brought down as his turned his marker following a Matt Challoner delivery. Unfortunately, the usually clinical Walker gifted the visiting keeper Ethan Ross a relativity easy save, though the keeper was brave to gather the rebound at the strikers feet.
From the penalty save Worcester broke and had their only shot on goal in the first half, but Kuda Muskwe fluffed his lines with a poor header in front of goal.
After the interval, City had an opportunity when Muskwe got through on goal but Ritchie Branagan rushed out to pull off a smart block-save on the edge of his area then at the other end Dale Whitham volleyed an early opening over.
Manager Matt Jansen tweaked the line-up a little with Will Beesley coming on for Kieran Charnock on 59 minutes
On 62 minutes Scott Leather slammed the Magpies in front. Following a Whitham corner the ball wasn’t cleared and after Sampson chested down Leather leathered the ball in from 15 yards.
After the goal, there were few clear goal chances; the home side not taking any chances while the visitors not creating any.
Walker shot wide from a Challoner cross before being making way for Josh O’Keefe on 79 minutes while Whitham and O’Keefe both shot without troubling Ross.
At the final whistle the three points were gladly banked and with news of Salford and Halifax both losing against Gainsborough and Fylde respectively the battle for the play-offs is really hotting up.
Next up for the Magpies is Stalybridge Celtic away on Bank Holiday Monday.
Starting XI: Ritchie Branagan, Matt Challoner, Adam Blakeman, Andy Teague, Scott Leather, Kieran Charnock, Jason Walker, Dale Whitham, Marcus Carver, Jack Sampson, Jake Cottrell
Subs: Josh O’Keefe (Walker, 79), Adam Roscoe, Paul Jarvis, Will Beesley (Charnock, 59), Waqas Azam
Goal: SCOTT LEATHER (62)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Scott Leather, goals win matches, but so do defenders and Scott was his usually outstanding self.