Chester 0 Chorley 0
This stalemate was a re-run of the first meeting at Victory Park – a game of few clear-cut chances in which impressive defending by both teams ensured another blank score-sheet.
For Chorley it was a fifth clean sheet in the last six matches and only the second time in five months that they have failed to score.
Chester, who needed a win to keep alive their slender hopes of making the play-offs, were most dangerous at set-pieces.
But the Magpies’ defenders blocked their best efforts and, when called upon, Matt Urwin’s handling was secure.
Home keeper Grant Shenton got down well to save from Elliot Newby as Chorley carved out an early chance, and Chester came closest when Craig Mahon fired just over the bar from 25 yards as half-time approached.
Chorley’s best hope of a goal came early in the second half when Marcus Carver at full stretch dinked the ball over Shenton but saw it float just the wrong side of the far post.
The striker then gambled to block a Shenton clearance and the ball rebounded agonisingly wide of the empty net.
Chester exerted strong pressure for a spell and Urwin scrambled to parry an Anthony Dudley effort which looked goalbound.
But in the later stages it was Chorley pressing for a late winner and Shenton distinguished himself with a smart near-post save from Carver’s low angled drive.
The hosts’ joint-manager Anthony Johnson said: “It was a decent performance from us against a strong team who have shown consistency and stability for the past five years and are not surprisingly top of the league.”
Magpies boss Jamie Vermiglio said: “We didn’t play to our full potential but the team’s work-rate cannot be questioned.
“We just needed that extra composure in using the ball better in a game that never really flowed.”
With Stockport County collecting three points at home to Darlington, Chorley’s lead at the top has shrunk to two points, with County having a match in hand – at Chester next midweek.
CHORLEY: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague, Leather (McGurk 72), Meppen-Walter, O’Keefe (Jordan 90), Cottrell, Carver, Tuton (Almond 60), E. Newby. Subs (not used): Anson, Eccles.