Hednesford 1, Chorley 3
Chorley made light of the shock departure of the influential Andy Bond to record a comfortable victory over relegation-threatened Hednesford Town.
While Bond was making his debut for League Two Crawley Town, the Magpies were winning 3-1 to climb to eighth in the table.
Matt Jansen’s men matched their hosts and controlled much of the game but needed to show resilience when the home side soon cancelled out their half-time single-goal lead.
The Magpies quickly reasserted themselves to go in front again and Jordan Connerton’s second well-taken goal of the afternoon allowed then to see out the match without alarm.
Boss Matt Jansen, understandably delighted with the performance, said: “We bounced back after Tuesday’s blip against Gloucester, as I believed we would. All credit to the lads. They were up for a battle and showed great character in responding to the equaliser. Their quality shone through in the end.”
Town keeper Dan Crane twice made good saves as Chorley set the early pace. He dealt acrobatically with an Andy Teague header from Adam Roscoe’s floated pass and then turned aside Roscoe’s long-range drive.
The Magpies deservedly went ahead on 31 minutes when Connerton fastened onto a long ball and finished with aplomb. Then with the home defence stretched, Darren Stephenson’s goal-bound shot was headed away by a defender with Crane out of position.
Hednesford resumed with fire after the break and Tom Peers missed a great chance, directing a close-range header straight at Sam Ashton. But the home side did equalise in the 58th minute.
The Chorley defence failed to clear a long throw-in and Thomas drilled the ball past Ashton.
Six minutes later, the Magpies regained the lead, a Jarvis cross bouncing off Dale Whitham’s chest into the net.
A route-one goal increased Chorley’s lead on 71 minutes when Ashton’s long goal-kick found its way straight through to Connerton who again made no mistake.
The Pitmen came close to pulling one back minutes later. Andy Teague was in the right place to clear off the line after Peers had rounded Ashton. But in the closing minutes it was Chorley who looked the more likely to score again.
Crane saved well from Stephenson as he cut in on goal, a Whitham free-kick was headed narrowly over the bar and in added time Stephenson fired a powerful shot straight at Crane.