Stephenson settles it for Magpies
Chorley 3 Gainsborough Trinity 1There is no place like home for Chorley, who returned to winning ways in the National League North in authoritative fashion to record their 10th win at Victory Park, where they have lost just one of 10 games this year.
In doing so, the Magpies overcame increasingly atrocious underfoot conditions, the result of an hour-long downpour.
Had the pitch been as waterlogged at the start as it was in the closing stages, the match would surely not have gone ahead.
In the circumstances both teams deserve great credit for serving up an absorbing contest, in which Chorley held the upper hand for all but a second-half spell when Trinity pulled a goal back and for a while threatened a more productive revival.
Darren Stephenson, however, plundered a third Chorley goal to wrap up the win.
The Magpies went ahead on 10 minutes when Dale Whitham floated an excellent free-kick beyond the defence which Kieran Charnock met with a well-directed header that went in off the far post.
Gainsborough hit back at once and Sam Ashton had to be alert at his near post to keep out Liam Davis’s fierce angled shot.
A scramble by the far post following a corner looked to have brought Chorley a second goal, prodded in by Stephenson but after consulting his assistant, the referee disallowed the goal.
Then Will Beesley rescued the hosts with a timely block to charge down a dangerous Nathan Jarman effort from inside the box, before the Magpies went two up in added time, Micah Evans heading home an inviting Andy Teague centre.
On the hour, Trinity cashed in on some sloppy play by Chorley in midfield, an incisive raid through the middle, leading to Jarman beating Ashton comprehensively with a cracking shot.
But the visitors were unable to build on the goal and the home side launched a series of penetrating attacks.
Stephenson bagged the decisive third goal on 79 minutes. Cutting in from the right, just outside the box, he let fly with a fierce low drive which skidded past Jan Budtz in the Gainsborough goal.
If the keeper was disappointed to be beaten there, he saved his side from embarrassment in the closing stages with smart saves from Teague, Jordan Connerton and Whitham as his defensive colleagues were increasingly swamped by a now rampant Chorley attack.
CHORLEY: Ashton, Ross, Beesley, Teague, Charnock, Meppen-Walter (Roscoe 70), Jarvis, Whitham, Evans (Connerton 64), Stephenson (Correia 87), Cottrell. Subs (not used): Lynch, Dorney