ADAM IS SPOT ON FOR THE MAG­PIES

The Non-League Football Paper - - NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH - By Mike Nield

LEAGUE lead­ers Chor­ley over­came a strong, phys­i­cal chal­lenge by Al­fre­ton to go nine points clear at the top of the ta­ble.

The vis­i­tors were a com­pet­i­tive force but lacked a cut­ting edge in the fi­nal third,

“We were never re­ally on the front foot or caused them prob­lems, ex­cept for a short spell in the sec­ond half,” ad­mit­ted Al­fre­ton man­ager Billy Heath.

“Chor­ley were the best team we’ve played and we weren’t good enough. Af­ter the sec­ond penalty, they saw the game out very com­fort­ably.”

The Mag­pies, in con­trast, al­ways looked dan­ger­ous in at­tack and but for two bril­liant saves by Reds keeper Sam Rams­bot­tom, they would have won by mrore.

Chor­ley boss Jamie Ver­miglio was de­lighted to see his side ex­tend their lead at the top, ay­ing: “We were de­ter­mined to stay on the front foot and we’ve ex­tended our fan­tas­tic run, which is a great credit to ev­ery­one at the club.”

Al­fre­ton started promis­ingly, and twice head­ers from set-pieces were just too high. But Chor­ley were

soon creat­ing chances.

Louis Al­mond was just off -tar­get with two an­gled at­tempts, and Court­ney Mep­pen-Wal­ter headed just past the post.

The Mag­pies’ pres­sure told on 21 min­utes when Josh Wil­son had a free header which Rams­bot­tom pushed aside, only for Matt Chal­loner to sweep the ball home from an acute an­gle.

Chor­ley went two-up on 28 min­utes when Al­mond, chas­ing a lofted pass from Mep­pen-Wal­ter into the box, was brought down by Rams­bot­tom. Adam Blake­man con­fi­dently con­verted.

Bobby John­son put Al­fre­ton back in the game on 33 min­utes with a spec­u­la­tive block­buster from 35 yards, which left home keeper Matt Ur­win stand­ing.

As the high tempo con­tin­ued, Mar­cus Carver was close to restor­ing his side’s two-goal lead with a tremen­dous shot.

As Al­fre­ton strove to find a quick equaliser af­ter the break, Josh Gowl­ing was just off-tar­get with a low drive from a cor­ner.

But Chor­ley re­stored their two-goal ad­van­tage on 61 min­utes. Wil­son chased a cross­field ball into the box and was up­ended by Rams­bot­tom, en­abling Blake­man to bag his sec­ond goal em­phat­i­cally from the spot.

This set­back de­flated Al­fre­ton and Rams­bot­tom saved a cer­tain fourth goal when at full stretch he turned a Carver header over. The keeper later de­nied Blake­man a hat­trick by tip­ping over a dip­ping 25-yard free-kick.

Chor­ley held out com­fort­ably in the clos­ing stages as Al­fre­ton tried with­out suc­cess to open up a typ­i­cally res­o­lute home de­fence. STAR MAN: Scott Leather (Chor­ley) EN­TER­TAIN­MENT: ★★★★★

PIC­TURES: Greig Ber­tram

BLAKE’S HEAVEN: Adam Blake­man of Chor­ley cel­e­brates scor­ing his sec­ond goal of the game

MATT FIN­ISH: Matt Chal­loner gives Chor­ley the lead

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