Garry Flitcroft’s promotion-chasing Chorley suffered a shock defeat at the hands of a very combative Gloucester City side, who are battling to stay clear of the Conference North relegation zone.
The feisty visitors matched the Magpies in the physical exchange and they rode their luck when Chorley got on top in the second half.
With the scores level at 1-1, it was home skipper Andy Teague, who unwittingly powered a header into his own net to give the visitors the win.
City opened positively and it was against the run of play when the Magpies took the lead with a fine goal on 11 minutes.
Josh Hine slipped a great ball through for James Dean to chase to the right of goal and he produced a smart finish with a low drive from a tight angle.
After Harry White wasted a clear shooting chance, the purposeful Tigers deservedly equalised in the 31st minute following a corner. Sam Ashton pushed Jack Harris’s powerful header against the bar and Chris Knowles was quickest to react, forcing the ball into the ne.
Ashton did well to keep out a deflected effort at his near post soon after the break but Chorley then got on top.
Jack Dorney missed a real sitter on the hour – left with just keeper Paul White to beat from four yards, he sliced his intended side-footed finish against the post.
Hine later raced clear and cut in from the right only to flash a shot just over the bar, then when he met Dean’s raking centre beyond the far post with a firm header White pulled off a sharp reflex block.
Dean finally appeared to have put Chorley back in front after Aaron Burns had contested a 50-50 challenge with White for a through-ball. It broke to Dean for an easy finish into an empty net but the referee disallowed the goal.
The decisive goal was a calamity for Teague. The Magpies’ skipper seemed harshly penalised just inside the Chorley half and when the free-kick was swung in he met it with a thumping header into his own net past a startled Ashton. With time running out, Teague looked set to atone with an equaliser but his goal-bound downward header from close range bounced up and over the bar.
“Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve and we didn’t,” said Flitcroft. “We were the better side by far in the second half and created the chances but it just wouldn’t go in for us.”
AFC Fylde’s title challenge suffered another blow when they were beaten for the third consecutive game by Harrogate Town 2-1.
Meanwhile, relegation-threatened Southport produced a battling performance to earn a 1-1 draw against high-flying Macclesfield Town.
Second in the Conference North table, Macclesfield were the stronger side but they came up against a resilient Port outfit.
Macclesfield were thwarted by two fine saves in the first half by Daniel Lloyd-Weston, firstly from Danny Rowe in the 16th minute then a point blank header from Paul Lewis.
And they could have found themselves behind when a shot from Port’s Richard Brodie bounced off the inside of the post to safety.
Two minutes later, Brodie was denied what looked an obvious penalty when he was brought down by the keeper Rhys Taylor.
In the 67th minute, the Silkmen finally broke the deadlock courtesy of a diving header from Danny Whittaker.
It looked game over for the Sandgrounders but a brilliant solo goal by Brodie levelled the scores and there could easily have been a winner for them had refere Adrian Holmes spotted a blatant handball in the area by Chris Holroyd.
The draw leaves Southport in 20th place and a point above the drop zone after Alfreton Town lost at Braintree.
In the NPL First Division North, Bamber Bridge gave their play-off hopes a real shot in the arm thanks to a 2-0 victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Northwich Victoria.
Alistair Waddecar handed Brig a 1-0 lead at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium in the 36th minute and Simon Wiles doubled the advantage 10 minutes after the break.
Lancaster City are making a late play-off charge. Their 3-0 win over Prescot Cables was their sixth league win in the last seven.
Neil Marshall opened the scoring at Giant Axe three minutes before the interval.
Billy Akrigg (55)and Ryan Winder (78)completed the win.
Elsewhere, Clitheroe beat Kendal Town 6-4 and Burscough snatched a late equaliser against Padiham.