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Magpies are timing their play-off bid just right

Goalscorer Alex Newby
Goalscorer Alex Newby

Chorley 2 Blyth Spartans 0

Chorley disposed of play-off chasing rivals Blyth with ease to claim sixth place in the National League North table, leaving Spartans’ own hopes hanging by a thread.

In truth, normally free-scoring Blyth caused the Chorley defence few problems as they went down to a sixth consecutive defeat, the clean-sheet leaving the Magpies with the best defensive record in the division.

Matt Jansen’s men were efficient from back to front and delighted their supporters in a fine crowd of 1,165 with some neat football and two quality goals.

Josh O’Keefe almost set them on their way with an early strike but Blyth keeper Peter Jameson pulled off a superb athletic save.

Chorley had to wait until the 42nd minute for a deserved lead. Marcus Carver broke through on the left, cutting in and drawing Jameson before calmly squaring the ball across the face of goal for Alex Newby to fire into a gaping net.

After the break, Jameson produced another fine save to keep out an Adam Blakeman blockbuster before the Magpies went two up in the 64th minute. This time Newby was the provider, his inviting centre finding Carver at the far post whose firm header flew past Jameson, hit the underside of the bar and dropped behind the line.

There was a moment of uncertainty before a linesman’s signal triggered the goal celebrations.

Both sides rang the changes with substitutions but nothing went right for the visitors who looked too low on confidence to make any impact on the scoreline. The goal-threat continued to come at the other end, substitute Matty Hughes launching a clever chip which caught Jameson off his line but bounced out off the bar, Jake Cottrell whipping the rebound high and wide.

The timing of the Magpies’ arrival in the play-offs’ top-seven could hardly be better, their biggest hurdle now seemingly the demands of a fixtures backlog not of their own making.

Tuesday’s home match against fifth-placed Stockport is now of huge importance and a big crowd is all but guaranteed for that one at Victory Park.

CHORLEY: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague, Leather, Jordan, Newby (Molyneux 85), O’Keefe (Whitham 70), Carver (Hughes 73), Walker, Cottrell. Unused subs: Anson, Wilson.