JAMIE Vermiglio’s relegation-battling Magpies were given a stark reality check by a slick Harrogate Town side who clinically exposed their limitations on Saturday.

In climbing to third in the National League table, the visitors simply had too much quality for a toiling Chorley team and with more careful finishing they could have at least doubled the winning margin.

After a promising opening 20 minutes in which they fired the first two shots, the Magpies, once they were behind, were very much second-best and mustered only one effort on target in a ragged second half.

A searching right-wing centre caused an early scramble in the Harrogate goalmouth and then Alex Newby had a strong shot charged down, while Marcus Carver fired straight at keeper James Belshaw from 25 yards.

But then poor judgement by keeper Matt Urwin handed Harrogate a 27th-minute lead. A lofted ball sent Jack Muldoon racing for goal down the right channel but Urwin opted not to advance, allowing Muldoon to drill the ball low into the far corner of the net.

Chorley did hit back quickly, Carver forcing Belshaw into a smart save at his near post – but that was to be as good as it got for the home side.

Urwin pulled off two reaction saves soon after the break to keep the Magpies at least in contention but the home defence was now being too easily opened up.

Calamitous defending midway through the half left the vastly-experienced Jon Stead clear and the 36-year-old rounded Urwin before scoring from the tightest of angles.

Harrogate continued to ask questions and in another lightning breakaway Lloyd Kerry drew a fine save from Urwin.

Finally, with some five minutes to play, Chorley managed a second-half effort on target, substitute Ntumba Massanka getting in a well-timed header which Belshaw dived to palm aside.

There was still time for Stead to threaten a third Harrogate goal with the diving Urwin turning an effort onto the far post before Muldoon astonishingly fired the rebound over from five yards.

It was all academic, the visitors having already stamped their class on this game.