Kings Lynn Town 0 Chorley 2
Chorley manager Garry Flitcroft’s decision to book his team into a Peterborough hotel overnight en route to Norfolk paid off handsomely as the Magpies delivered a thoroughly professional performance to consolidate their position as NPL Premier Division leaders.
“That was an ideal away display,” said Flitcroft afterwards. “We were superb from back to front against a team with a very good home record.”
In a contest spoiled by a strong wind, Chorley coped well against the elements in the first half before raising the stakes in the second and finally triumphing with two goals in the final 15 minutes.
In a bright opening Chris Almond and Dale Whitham had chances but failed to inject enough power into their shots and it was the Linnets who enjoyed a dominant spell, Rob Duffy twice off-target from inviting crosses. Then a sublime through-ball from David Bell released Jake Jones whose cross-shot flew inches wide of the far post.
However, Chorley in turn were dangerous on the counter and from Jack Dorney’s knock-down Whitham forced Alex Street into a reflex save with his legs, while a Jake Cottrell piledriver was charged down in the home goalmouth.
After the break the Magpies increasingly made the running. Whitham sent clear by Adam Roscoe’s fine pass fired over from a narrow angle and later Dorney tapped the ball into the Linnets’ net after Street had palmed aside Roscoe’s well-struck shot, only to be ruled offside.
Chorley’s frustration was short-lived. Within two minutes of his introduction Darren Stephenson grabbed the goal that set the vocal travelling support alight on 74 minutes.
Racing onto a long punt from keeper Sam Ashton, Stephenson burst between defenders and saw his first attempt parried by Street but reacted smartly to tuck away the rebound.
King’s Lynn were now making little impression on a solid Chorley defence and the visitors wrapped up the points five minutes from time.
The tireless Whitham was tripped as he sought an opening in the penalty area and he stepped up to beat Street with a perfectly-placed spot kick.
This outstanding victory, Chorley’s 20th from 29 league games, keeps the Magpies two points ahead of closest challengers Skelmersdale United with two matches in hand.
The first of these is against relegation-threatened Frickley Athletic at Victory Park on tomorrow night (7.45pm ko).