STILL seeking an elusive first away win since early January, Chorley slipped to an ill-timed 2-1 defeat on Harrogate Town’s 3G playing surface on which they often looked ill at ease.

The Magpies’ cause was not helped by the concession of two first-half goals from a penalty and then a free-kick before Jack Sampson maintained his goal-a-game sequence to bring them back into the match but despite an improved second-half showing they left without reward.

In truth, Harrogate, beaten only once in the last 12 games, deserved their victory on the balance of play.

Harrogate took the lead after 13 minutes when Joe Leesley sent Richie Branagan the wrong way from the spot.

Then on 38 minutes the Magpies conceded a free-kick and Simon Ainge lost his marker and head powerfully into the net at the far post.

Sampson did reduce the arrears in the 42nd minute, capitalising on a fluffed clearance by home keeper Peter Crook to fire into the open net from eight yards, the striker’s sixth goal in eight games.

Yet Chorley were grateful to Branagan for two more outstanding saves before the break.

A lapse by Andy Teague soon after the interval presented John-Paul Pitman with a great chance to extend Town’s lead but his lob over Branagan also cleared the bar.

Territorially at least, the Magpies were seen to greater effect in the second half but the closest they came to an equaliser was a misjudged back-header by Harrogate defender Warren Burrell which Crook at full stretch tipped onto the bar. With four minutes to go, Matt Challoner got in a teasing shot which Crook just kept out, though there was a suspicion that he might have carried the ball over the line in doing so. The final act deep into added time saw Harrogate awarded a second penalty but this time Branagan kept out Leesley’s straight-down-the-middle attempt.