A ROUTINE victory over bottom-of-the-league Altrincham took Chorley to the 50-points’ mark and strengthened their hold on third place in the National League North table, at the same time closing the gap on leaders Fylde to six points following the Coasters’ unexpected defeat at lowly Curzon Ashton.

A brace of first-half goals settled this run-of-the-mill encounter which from a spectators’ point of view was a game of one half, the second period offering virtually nothing to warm a patient crowd of 1,127.

Had Chorley taken all their chances, they would have been four up at the interval.

As it was, there were a few nervy moments as Altrincham finally got a foothold in the match in an improved second-half show.

The highlight for manager Matt Jansen and the home fans was an eye-catching debut by Jack Sampson, signed on Thursday on loan from Macclesfield Town.

Not only did Sampson open his account with a fine headed goal after just 12 minutes but he also showed both strength and skill on the ball, holding it up well to bring colleagues into play in what the Chorley boss rated an ‘outstanding’ performance.

After a brief opening flurry from the visitors, Chorley went ahead from an Adam Blakeman corner, Sampson rising above the defence to flick a neat header into the roof of the net.

That lead was doubled in the 26th minute thanks to a flying header from Jake Cottrell.

If the match had ended at this point, the spectators would not have been short-changed.

Altrincham came more and more into the game after the break but for all their extra possession, the Robins could not open up a Chorley defence playing with its customary resolve.

Nicky Clee nearly grabbed a third late in the half but was denied by the keeper.