Harrogate Town 4 Chorley FC 1
Harrogate Town’s recent resurgence continued as they recorded a dominant 4-1 win over 7th place Chorley FC at the CNG Stadium.
First half goals from Andy Gascoigne and Paul Clayton either side of Chorley Captain Andy Teague’s dismissal saw Harrogate take a strong lead into the break.
The visitors pulled a goal back through Josh Hine, however, suggestions of a comeback for the ten men of Chorley were short lived as Jack Emmett and Jordan Thewlis struck to secure all three points.
Despite the result, Harrogate could be made to count the cost of victory with the in-form Gascoigne being taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg as a result of Teague’s challenge.
Harrogate manager Simon Weaver named the same 11 that won away at AFC Fylde last weekend, while Chorley boss Garry Flitcroft included former-Town striker James Dean in his starting line-up.
The visitors started the contest the brightly with Dale Whitham and Hine seeing their attempts to open the scoring narrowly miss the target.
Harrogate responded with a chance of their own as Clayton’s driven shot from a well-worked corner routine was tipped over by Chorley goalkeeper Sam Ashton.
And Town’s number nine was involved again from the resulting corner; this time being hauled down inside the box by Mark Ross, leaving referee Graeme Fyvie no choice but to award a spot-kick.
Gascoigne stepped up and coolly dispatched his fifth goal in five games into the bottom right corner to give Harrogate a 1-0 lead just ten minutes in.
Chorley searched for a way back into the game before a moment of recklessness from Captain Teague ensured his team’s backs were firmly against the wall.
Chorley’s number four dived in two footed, in what can only be described as a horror challenge, leaving Gascoigne with a suspected broken leg, before deservedly being given his marching orders.
Weaver’s men were quick to make their numerical advantage count and doubled their lead through Clayton after 24 minutes.
The striker expertly met Ryan Fallowfield’s outswinging corner to send a powerful header beyond Ashton into the back of the Chorley net.
To their credit, Chorley battled well for the remainder of the half with Dean forcing Peter Crook into a comfortable save, although Town looked extremely dangerous on the break with the pace of Thewlis and Emmett proving too much to handle.
With seconds to go until half time, Chorley came close to pulling a goal back when Aaron Burns fired a speculative shot towards the Town goal, only for Crook to comically almost scoop the ball into his own net before rescuing the situation on the goal line.
The visitors made a positive start to the second half, looking to use their considerable height advantage at every opportunity before eventually making a breakthrough after 54 minutes.
A long Ashton goal kick was allowed to bounce by Lewis Turner, leaving Crook unsure whether to come out or stay put, by which point it was too late as Hine guided a looping header over the stranded ‘keeper.
Chorley were quickly denied the chance to mount a comeback, however, as just three minutes later Emmett restored Town’s two-goal lead with his first goal for the club.
Louie Swain carried the ball into Chorley half and unleashed a swirling left footed cross that wasn’t dealt with by the Chorley defence, leaving Emmett unmarked inside the area to calmly slot home.
With 20 minutes left to play, Town were awarded their second penalty of the afternoon as Chorley again struggled to deal with Thewlis’ dribbling ability and brought the attacker down inside the box.
The impressive number ten stepped up confidently to take the penalty himself, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and putting the result beyond doubt.
With the contest put to bed, late efforts from Chorley midfielder Jake Cottrell and Town’s Matt Bloomer did little to worry either goalkeeper.
Harrogate Town held on comfortably to maintain their impressive form and put a serious dent in Garry Flitcroft’s side’s play-off ambitions.
Harrogate Town: Crook, Turner, Swain, Franks, Nyoni, McGurk, Fallowfield, Gascoigne (Bloomer, 22), Clayton (Walshaw, 86), Thewlis (Worsfold, 78), Emmett
Subs not used: Rowe, Speight
Goals: Gascoigne 9, Clayton 24, Emmett 57, Thewlis 70
Chorley: Ashton, Ross, Mather, Teague, Flynn, Roscoe (Winter, 68), Hine, Whitham, Dean, Burns (Jarvis, 61), Cottrell
Subs not used: Almond, Lynch, Simm
Goals: Hine 54
Sent off: Teague
Referee: G. Fyvie
Match Report: @halb0kd0k