Chorley see off Alfreton to extend lead at the top of National League North table

Adam Blakeman of Chorley makes it two nil from the penalty spot (photo: Greig Bertram/AGBPHOTO)
Adam Blakeman of Chorley makes it two nil from the penalty spot (photo: Greig Bertram/AGBPHOTO)

Chorley 3 Alfreton Town 1

Ultra-consistent Chorley successfully rode a tough physical challenge from Alfreton and extended their lead at the top of the National League North table to nine points.

The visitors, having transferred striker Tom Denton to Chesterfield in midweek, lacked any sort of cutting edge.

Although they became the first team to score at Victory Park this season, their goal was a 30-yard stunner which came right out of the blue.

After a promising start by the Derbyshire side when two headers from set-pieces flew just too high, the Magpies soon began to create chances.

Louis Almond twice went close with low cross-shots and Courtney Meppen-Walter headed inches wide from a well-flighted corner.

The breakthrough arrived on 21 minutes. Josh Wilson had a free header from six yards which keeper Sam Ramsbottom shovelled aside, only to see Almond recycle the ball to Matt Challoner who whipped it into the net from a tight angle.

Seven minutes later Adam Blakeman netted the first of two penalties.

Almond just beat Ramsbottom to a lofted through ball from Meppen-Walter but was clipped by the keeper and Blakeman confidently cracked the spot-kick into the roof of the net.

In the 33rd minute, Bobby Johnson thundered a snap-shot into the corner of the home net which left Matt Urwin standing.

This triggered a spell of greater possession for Alfreton but the half ended with more excitement at the other end. Marcus Carver worked himself an opening and let fly with a curling shot heading for the top corner only to see Ramsbottom pull off an incredible flying save.

Elliot Newby had a good effort saved by Ramsbottom at his near post shortly after the break before the visitors enjoyed their best spell of the match, Jordan Sinnott’s low drive coming close following a half-cleared corner.

It looked briefly as if a tight finish might occur but on the hour Wilson, chasing a cross-field ball into the box was upended by Ramsbottom and Blakeman hammered home his second penalty of the afternoon.

Alfreton’s appetite for the game dwindled after that setback and Ramsbottom twice saved his side from further damage.

At full stretch he athletically turned over a point-bank range Carver header and then denied Blakeman a hat-trick by tipping over his dipping 22-yards’ free-kick.

In the end it was another straightforward victory and five out of five at Victory Park.

Magpies boss Jamie Vermiglio said: “It’s another great three points against a very tough, physical side.

“We’ve battled through, determined to play on the front foot, and we’ve got the result we deserved.”

Visiting manager Billy Heath was bluntly frank in his assessment. He said: “We were never really on the front foot and apart from a short spell in the second half we haven’t caused them problems.

“Chorley are the best team we’ve played and we simply weren’t good enough.”

CHORLEY: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman (Cottrell 82), Teague, Leather, Meppen-Walter, Wilson, O’Keefe, Carver, Almond (Glynn 45), E. Newby (Whitham 72). Subs {not used): Anson, Jordan.

Attendance: 1,298.