CHORLEY paid the price of a slow start against a fired-up Boston side who grabbed an early goal and then set to ensure that they kept a clean-sheet by whatever means available to them to secure a 1-0 win.

Although the Magpies gained a measure of territorial superiority, they rarely opened up a resolute defence, the visitors displaying all the commitment and tenacity expected of a side still fighting to avoid sliding into a late battle against relegation.

The Magpies’ cause was not helped by the loss to injury of two players in the first half-hour which unbalanced the team but they simply never hit the tempo which had destroyed high-riding Spennymoor in midweek.

There was an over-reliance on pumping long balls forward which the tall Boston defenders consistently dealt with.

The visitors, it must be said, resorted to gamesmanship at every opportunity, feigning injury, consistently wasting time and swarming round referee Rebecca Welch after any contentious challenge. The nett result was a thoroughly disjointed, scrappy encounter with few goalmouth incidents to rouse a very good crowd of 1,022.

Boston grabbed the vital goal in the 10th minute, Reece Thompson beating the offside trap and shrugging off two attempted challenges before coolly clipping the ball past Matt Urwin.

The keeper later pulled off a good save at his near post to claim a low inswinging corner which could easily have crept into the net.

The Magpies all the while failed to test Jon Stewart apart from a cheeky back-heel from Marcus Carver to which the keeper was fully alert.

There was more danger to the home goal soon after the break when Urwin did well to get down and hold Jake Beesley’s stinging low drive.

Chorley responded with a close-range flick from Alex Newby which Stewart held by the near post and a strong shot from Jake Cottrell which was deflected over the Boston bar.

The Magpies were denied what looked a clear penalty when Carver was barged in the back as he shaped to meet a right-wing centre, the referee waving aside strident claims. A bad day at the office was underlined in stoppage-time. As Boston successfully ran down the clock, Dale Whitham was sent off after sliding in to contest a loose ball in midfield.

As it happened, the defeat cost ninth-placed Chorley no ground in the league placings but on this evidence the play-offs are beginning to look just out of reach.