Ashton United 0, Chorley 5

Chorley put on a five-star show and simply outclassed a shell-shocked Ashton to extend their  lead at the top of the National League North table to seven points.

Josh O'Keefe heads home the first goal for Chorley against Ashton
Josh O'Keefe heads home the first goal for Chorley against Ashton

The scoreline tells its own story; in complete control from the start Chorley rattled in three goals before the break – it could have been more – and any remote prospect of the hosts getting back into the game disappeared within a minute of the restart as the Magpies added a fourth.

The rout began in the 11th minute when Adam Blakeman whipped in a corner which Josh O’Keefe met with a well-timed header that flashed past Josh Ollerenshaw.

The keeper then pulled off a fabulous save to deny Louis Almond who turned his man smartly before bending a great shot towards the top corner. But Chorley went two up just past the half-hour mark.

Almond, outstanding on the day, held the ball up well, allowing Blakeman to cut inside and from just outside the box drive a fierce right-foot shot into the back of the net.

Then on 40 minutes O’Keefe delivered a precise centre for Marcus Carver to send a looping header beyond Ollerenshaw and make it 3-0.

Elliot Newby won possession from a poor clearance on 46 minutes and set up Almond for a close-range near-post finish which removed any lingering competitive element from the proceedings. Chorley eased up and introduced their three substitutes midway through the half.

Even then, Ashton posed little attacking threat and five minutes from time Carver was given far too much time and room to set up Newby at close range for his first goal for the club.

Matt Urwin in the Chorley goal was finally called upon to make a serious save in added time to preserve the clean-sheet, the Magpies’ seventh in the nine matches played to date.

Manager Jamie Vermiglio was naturally delighted by his side’s performance: “We were relentless and showed real togetherness, organisation and discipline throughout the team."

His opposite number Jody Banim admitted: "We were massively second-best all round against a very good Chorley team who are rightly where they are at the top of the league."

CHORLEY : Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague (Anson,67), Leather, Meppen-Walters, Wilson, O’Keefe (Cottrell,67). Carver, Almond (Whitham,62), Newby (E.). Unused subs. Short, Eccles.Att. 425.