Harrogate Town returned to winning ways and made it ten points from a possible 12 to start the season with a 4-1 success over Chorley at The CNG Stadium.
Simon Ainge’s first half brace set the foundations against last season’s beaten play-off finalists as Town’s top scorer converted a penalty three minutes in, and headed in a second two minutes before the break.
Chorley looked a different side after the break, and looked set to mount a comeback when Marcus Carver’s close range finish halved Town’s lead.
Just as the visitors were growing in confidence, Jordan Thewlis produced a brilliant individual effort to knock the wind out of the Magpies’ sails and send Town on the way to victory.
Scott Leather saw red for the visitors for two bookable offences with just under 15 minutes to go, before Thewlis added his second finishing off Joe Leesley's pull back in the 90th minute.
Simon Weaver made one change from Saturday’s draw at Stockport as Thewlis recovered from illness to take the place of Dominic Knowles.
Thewlis showed no signs of whatever ruled him out at the weekend and won his side a penalty after two minutes; capitalising on a short back pass before being brought down by Matt Urwin.
Ainge stepped up and shot calmly to the goalkeeper’s right to claim his fifth goal of the season; and third from the spot.
The hosts were made to wait 20 minutes for their next chance as Warren Burrell met George Thomson’s corner inside the six yard box, but glanced wide of the post.
Thomson went close to putting Town two to the good at the break as his left wing free kick whistled past the far post and a stranded Unwin.
With just two minutes remaining of the half, and moments after Jason Walker had miss kicked Andy Teague’s rebounded shot, Ainge claimed his second; heading home Joe Leesley’s lofted cross at the back post.
Matt Jansen’s men made a good start to the second half as Jason Walker’s low shot across goal forced a smart save from the feet of James Belshaw.
The Magpies clawed a goal back eight minutes after the restart as Carver received a knock down one on one with Belshaw and managed to slot past the advancing goalkeeper.
Despite the visitors’ strong start, a moment of magic from Thewlis ensured Town restored their two goal advantage as the striker collected possession midway inside the Chorley half, raced past his marker and found the bottom left corner.
With 16 minutes left to play, Chorley were reduced to ten men as Scott Leather picked up a second booking for a late challenge on Emmett.
With the man advantage, Town looked comfortable and pressed for a fourth, with Thomson seeing his strike deflect just wide of the near post.
Ainge almost claimed his hat-trick with three minutes to go, but headed Leesley’s deep cross the wrong side of the post, though Thewlis was able to add to the scoreline as the contest approached stoppage time; converting Leesley's pull back.
Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Fallowfield (Vann 81), Parker, Falkingham, Middleton, Burrell, Thomson, Emmett, Ainge, Thewlis, Leesley
Subs not used: Knowles, Cracknell, Kennedy, Day
Goals: Ainge 3 (p), 43, Thewlis 64, 90
Chorley: Urwin, Challoner, Jarvis, Teague, Leather, Charnock (Roscoe 64), Blakeman, Whitham, Carver, Walker (O’Keefe 77), Cottrell
Subs not used: Wilson, Gornell, Likoy-Elumba
Goals: Carver 53
Booked: Urwin, Whitham, Leather
Sent off: Leather
Referee: R Wooton