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Magpies close the gap at top
8:25am Monday 6th January 2014 in Sport
Chorley 3 Grantham Town 1
Chorley closed the gap on leaders Skelmersdale United to just one point with three games in hand after subduing a feisty Grantham side with an impressive second-half power-show.
The visitors were clearly fired up for this one and, boosted by a 20th minute penalty for handball, calmly converted by Ashley Burberry, they presented the Magpies’ title-chasers with a real test of character.
But Garry Flitcroft’s men showed yet again the quality and resilience which have seen them go 23 games with only one defeat. In fact but for the heroics of keeper Dan Haystead, the Gingerbreads would surely have lost by double the margin. Haystead brilliantly kept out a Dale Whitham rocket destined for the top corner as Chorley sought an equaliser and the Grantham keeper was unfortunate to see James Dean tuck away the loose ball on 36 minutes after he had done well to parry a close-range shot from Josh Hine, the culmination of a typical speedy run.
Then Haystead somehow smothered another short-range effort from Whitham to keep the sides on terms at the break. Chorley edged ahead through a magnificent goal on 64 minutes. Dean created the chance with a superb lofted pass through the middle for Hine to run onto and measure a delightful lob beyond Haystead.
The keeper then turned over a dipping drive from Whitham and soon afterwards left Dean and the home fans in an excellent crowd of 813 in disbelief when he plunged to his left to scoop out the striker’s low drive. It fell to Whitham to make the points safe on 76 minutes, sweeping Jake Cottrell’s inviting low ball across the box into the corner of the net.
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