Magnificent Magpies marching on

James Dean was on target

James Dean was on target

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Chorley maintained their excellent early-season form in the Conference North to dispatch Harrogate 4-0 with the minimum of fuss on Saturday to the delight of their fans in another fine crowd of 1,004.

The Magpies will be aiming to continue their great run of form when they face Hyde away on Monday night.

At the weeekend, even allowing for the absence of a couple of key players, Harrogate were hugely disappointing and out of contention inside the first half-hour.

They contributed to their own downfall with some fragile defensive play, evident as early as the second minute when they fell behind. Josh Hine’s low centre caused panic in the six-yard box and two attempts to hack the ball clear only resulted in Lewis Coyle unwittingly redirecting it into his own net.

As Town gradually settled down, Jack Emmett was unlucky not to equalise with a cracking 25-yard snap-shot ,which rebounded from the foot of a post with Sam Ashton well beaten.

It was to prove Harrogate’s only real shot of the match and soon afterwards on 22 minutes they went further behind, Dale Whitham comprehensively beating keeper Phil Barnes with a crisp 20-yard drive.

Five minutes later, the points were effectively in the Chorley bag. Good hold-up play by James Dean led to Darren Stephenson bursting through and beating Barnes with power, though the keeper did get a hand to the ball.

It should have been four when Hine pulled the ball back for Jack Dorney who skied his shot high and wide from six yards.

With half-time looming, a great ball from Coyle released Ryan Kendall but the vigilant Ashton was quick to close the striker down as he delayed his shot.

Chorley comfortably protected their lead in the second half, which was very low-key and lacking in goalmouth incident.

Harrogate got little change out of the Magpies’ solid defence which duly recorded its seventh clean-sheet in 11 matches. Morecambe-loanee Chris Doyle again impressed at centre-back.

The patience of the home fans massed was finally rewarded in added time when Paul Jarvis dispossessed a dallying defender and sent Dean clear, the big striker whipping a superb shot beyond the stranded Barnes for his eighth goal of the season.

“There were some big performances out there,” said Magpies boss Garry Flitcroft.

“The lads coming back from injury and suspension are going to have to fight for a shirt.”