by Hal Boxhall-Dockree
18 March 2017

Harrogate Town 2-1 Chorley


Harrogate Town gained revenge for defeat at Victory Park earlier in the season with a 2-1 win over Chorley at The CNG Stadium.


Joe Leesley scored from the spot after 13 minutes to put the hosts ahead, before setting up Simon Ainge to head home his 19th goal of the season.

The Magpies pulled one back through Mark Sampson, and struck the woodwork in the second half, but couldn’t find a leveller as Town moved to within six points of the play-off positions.

Simon Weaver made two enforced changes from last weekend’s draw at Gloucester as Tom Platt and Joe Colbeck replaced the injured Luke Shiels and Andi Thanoj.

Platt was given the role of centre forward for the afternoon and went close in the first few minutes; heading Joe Leesley’s cross just wide.

Town were given the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot after 13 minutes as Lewis Turner charged forward and was tripped inside the box, allowing Leesley to step up and score.

The hosts were then dealt a blow as Lloyd Kerry was withdrawn with what looked like a serious injury, though Ainge could have made it two soon after, if not for alert goalkeeping from Ritchie Brannagan blocking the forward’s finish.

The Magpies began to threaten themselves as Captain Andy Teague headed wide and Jack Sampson had a volley saved, but Town soon doubled their advantage.

With seven minutes to go until the break, Liam Agnew won a free kick in a dangerous position that Leesley swung into the path of Ainge to finish at the far post.

Matt Jansen’s side responded quickly to going two down though, as Peter Crook’s clearance from a cross fell kindly to Sampson who swept into an empty net.

Brannagan then made two very good saves to keep his side’s deficit at one as the Magpies’ stopper kept out Leesley’s low finish and Joe Colbeck’s 30-yard try.

Weaver’s men started the second half well as Pittman twice went close capitalising on defensive errors before Leesley’s sweet strike was blocked before it could find the net.

The chances then kept falling for the hosts as Colbeck slid Pittman through on goal, only for Brannagan to save at the striker’s feet.

The trailing visitors then rattled the woodwork, but not through their own player as Crook tipped Warren Burrell’s header onto his own cross bar at full stretch.

Danny Ellis than had the chance to seal the points with six minutes to go, but headed Leesley’s delivery wide at the back post.

Deep into stoppage time Town were awarded another spot-kick as substitute Jack Emmett was brought down, only for Brannagan to keep out Leesley's attempt in what was the last action of the game.

Harrogate Town: Crook, Turner, Parker, Burrell, Ellis, Agnew, Colbeck (Emmett 77), Kerry (Pittman 18), Ainge, Platt, Leesley

Subs not used: Elliott, Thirlwell, Day

Goals: Leesley 13 (p), Ainge 38

Booked: Ainge

Chorley: Brannagan, Challanor, Jarvis, Teague, Leather (Walker 70), Jordan, Blakeman, Whitham (O’Keefe 81), Carber, Sampson (McDaid 77), Cottrell

Subs not used: Charnock, Roscoe

Goals: Sampson 42

Booked: Leather, Jordan

Referee: M Woods

Attendance: 972