Chorley 2 Leamington 0
After cruising through the first half and creating numerous clear chances, finally taking two of them just before the break, Chorley made hard work of completing this victory, writes MIKE NEILD.
Leamington, who had raised eyebrows with a win at leaders Salford and a draw at title-chasing Harrogate, were there for the taking in the opening period and were lucky to go in at half-time only two down.
It was simply poor finishing which prevented the Magpies establishing a four or five-goal lead.
But the visitors were more competitive after the interval, taking the game to Chorley, who lost their cutting edge and in the end were left soaking up pressure.
Fortunately, Leamington lacked a sharpshooter and Matt Urwin was not unduly tested. In an impressive first half, the Magpies repeatedly sliced open a ponderous visitors’ defence .
Marcus Carver wasted a clear chance in the opening minutes, screwing his shot wide, then lost control as he was later put through.
Josh O’Keefe ballooned hi shot over the bar when teed up eight yards out and Jason Walker put a free header over the bar from a corner.
At the other end, Liam Canavan missed Leamington’s best opening of the game, shooting wide of an open goal from Kieran Dunbar’s precise centre.
As the home side continued to press, Nick Haughton completed a typical slalom dribble with a low drive inches off target.
Chorley’s pressure finally paid off on 39 minutes, Andy Teague powering home a trademark header from Adam Blakeman’s excellent free-kick.
Then in added time, a flowing right-wing move resulted in an inviting low cross which Carver swept into the net via the underside of the bar.
There was little real quality in an often turgid second half. Leamington clearly raised their game but the Chorley defence, as so often, was unyielding.
There was, however, one scare when Kurtis Revan beat the out-rushing Urwin to a through-ball but he was forced wide of goal and Teague got back to block his shot at the near post.
Carver had a good chance to wrap up Chorley’s victory when sent clear but his low drive from outside the box was smartly saved by Leamington keeper Tony Breeden.
Not a vintage performance but on a greasy surface and against a side proven to be dangerous away from home, most Magpies’ fans would surely have taken this scoreline before the kick-off.
CHORLEY: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague, Leather, Wilson, Haughton (Jarvis 90), O’Keefe, Carver, Walker (Roscoe 88), Hughes (Black 73). Subs (not used) Anson, Whitham