Chorley 3, Leamington 0: Magpies open seven-point gap at top

Marcus Carver celebrates scoring for Chorley with Josh Wilson
Marcus Carver celebrates scoring for Chorley with Josh Wilson

Title-chasing  Chorley strode seven points clear of closest challengers Stockport County at the top of the National League North.

The Magpies wore down a dogged Leamington who rarely looked capable of depriving the Magpies of a third consecutive clean-sheet.

In fact the visitors mustered only one shot on the home goal as Matt Urwin enjoyed a very quiet afternoon between the posts.

The quality of the Chorley goals made up for some often scrappy exchanges.

Man-of-the-match Marcus Carver delivered two excellent pieces of finishing, his second finally putting the game to bed 12 minutes from the end, before substitute Louis Almond added the gloss with a superb strike in added time to underline the Magpies’ superiority.

Danger to the visitors’ goal in the early stages came from two driven efforts by Adam Blakeman, both narrowly off-target, and from an angled shot by Josh Wilson which keeper Tony Breeden dived to hold.

Chorley finally made the breakthrough on 31 minutes. Courtney Meppen-Walter played a quick pass down the left channel to Carver who shrugged off a couple of challenges before beating Breeden with a well-struck cross-shot which nestled in the far corner of the net.

As Leamington hit back, there was a major escape for the Magpies following a corner when, with Urwin beaten, Matt Challoner booted a powerful shot from Jack Lane off the line.

The second half was a sterile affair until it sparked into life with some fifteen minutes to play.

Wilson controlled a lofted forward ball and attempted to chip Breeden, the keeper at full stretch just managing to tip the ball onto the bar.

A similar move three minutes later however brought results. This time Carver was released by a through ball and he calmly lobbed Breeden and saw the ball hit the back of the net to the delight of home fans massed behind the goal.

Chorley played out the rest of the match with composed ease but there was a final chance for the crowd to enjoy a third goal.

Almond, very influential in a short cameo appearance from the bench, cleverly turned his marker before drilling an unstoppable low cross-shot into the net in the third minute of added time.

This was the Magpies’ 13th win of the season at Victory Park, further highlighting what is easily the best home record in the league.

Jamie Vermiglio was delighted to pick up another three points. "We weren’t at our exciting best," he said. "But at this stage it’s all about ticking another game off and putting the points on the board. We must stay focused now with six tough games coming up to the end of the season."

CHORLEY : Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman (Almond, 81), Teague, Leather, Meppen-Walter, O’Keefe, Cottrell, Carver (McGurk,81), Wilson, E. Newby (Jordan, 86). Unused subs. Anson, Eccles.

Att. 1,507.