Injury hit Harrogate Town’s return to Victory Park, Chorley, after a twelve year gap ended in a heavy 4-0 defeat.
Simon Weaver recalled Shane Killock as captain and included new signings,Nicky Featherstone and Lewis Coyle in the starting line up.
The game started disastrously for Town when after only two minutes the defence were unable to deal with Josh Hine’s cross into the box and the ball cruelly rebounded off Killock into the net.
Town rode the early “Magpies”attacks,and prompted by Lloyd Kerry and Featherstone began to hit back.
Jack Emmett was proving a threat down the flanks and almost equalised with a twentyfive yard drive that came back off the upright,before forcing Tom Smyth into a vital block. Excellent approach work between Killock, Featherstone and Jake Speight created a chance for Kerry but keeper, Sam Ashton, beat his shot away.
Two goals in five minutes halfway through the half effectively sealed Town’s fate.
On twentytwo minutes, Dale Whitham’s smart turn and shot from the edge of the area gave Phil Barnes no chance, then five minutes later, James Dean found Darren Stephenson unmarked in the area and he scored with a low drive.
Good interplay between Speight and Ryan Kendall ended with Speight firing at Ashton,while at the other end Jack Dorney scooped Hine’s cross over the bar when it looked easier to score.
The last action of the half saw Lewis Coyle break down the right and send Kendall clear with a fine diagonal pass, but he tried to round Ashton and the keeper scrambled the ball away.
Town fought back strongly after the break as Chorley seemed content to sit on their lead.
Killock pushed forward to head a Leigh Franks cross over the top and Speight and Emmett combined well to create a chance for Rhys Meynell, whose header was inches to high.
Dominic Rowe, Louis Swain and Alex Metcalfe were brought on as Town tried to get onto the scoresheet and from a late Rowe corner Adam Nowakowski shot just wide of the upright.
Unfortunately for Town, deep into stoppage time, Paul Jarvis took advantage of a Killock slip to feed Dean who made no mistake from close range.
1 Barnes, 2 Coyle, 3 Meynell, 4 Franks, 5 Killock (c), 6 Featherstone, 7 Kerry (Rowe 57), 8 Nowakowski, 9 Speight, 10 Kendall (Swain 66,Metcalfe 76), 11 Emmett.
Unused subs, 12 Nelthorpe, 15 Bloomer.
Booking Speight. Attendance 1004
By John Harrison