Hall on the spot to net Magpies all three points

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Chorley returned to winning ways with a 1-0 home victory over Leamington. (writes Mike Nield)

The scoreline certainly flattered the visitors with the Magpies requiring a penalty to access the three points.

The hosts could, and probably should, have hit shot-shy Leamington for five or six.

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Twice in the first half they hit the goal-frame, firstly from a trademark Adam Blakeman free-kick which shook the bar and then from a quickly-taken shot by Ollie Shenton which came back off a post.

Connor Hall celebrates after scoring from the spot for Chorley (photo: Stefan Willoughby)Connor Hall celebrates after scoring from the spot for Chorley (photo: Stefan Willoughby)
Connor Hall celebrates after scoring from the spot for Chorley (photo: Stefan Willoughby)

Sandwiched in-between was the decisive goal from the penalty-spot on 24 minutes.

Keeper Callum Hawkins clattered Connor Hall as they competed for a lofted ball near goal and the striker picked himself up to convert the penalty without fuss for his ninth goal of the season.

In truth, Chorley should have had at least three penalties. Two blatant second-half offences went unpunished, the second an unbelievable oversight by the officials. Substitute Andy Owens was clear as he ran into the box only to be tugged back as he prepared to shoot.

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It was nothing short of a straightforward red card but not for the first time it was as if referee Richard Aspinall, having awarded the Magpies one penalty, was determined not to give them another.

Leamington did not test Matt Urwin at all throughout the match but they did significantly raise their game in the last half-hour and the Chorley defenders, superbly marshalled by skipper Scott Leather, had to be on their mettle – and they were, giving Urwin maximum cover.

The tension among home fans as the clock ticked down could have been avoided, had the Magpies shown greater care and composure in their finishing from several clear-cut second-half opportunities.

Mike Calveley burst through only to shoot a yard wide with just Hawkins to beat and then Jon Ustabasi showed all his acceleration to race through on goal but instead of rounding the advancing keeper he attempted unsuccessfully to clip the ball past him and was denied.

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Earlier Ustabasi had struck a thunderous volley towards the top corner of the net only to see Leamington’s outstanding defender, Dan Meredith, head the ball off the line with Hawkins well beaten.

In the end Chorley stretched their unbeaten home record to seven games and climbed to ninth place in what is proving an ultra-competitive league.

CHORLEY : Urwin, Challoner, Smith, Leather, Blakeman, Tomlinson (Nolan, 80), Shenton, Calveley, Johnson (Owens,77), Hall (Schorah, 87), Ustabasi. Unused subs. Whitehouse, Okome.

Att. 941.

Elsewhere, AFC Fylde drew 2-2 with Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup and in the NL North, Southport defeated Farsley Celtic 3-0.

In the NPL Premier