Chorley 1 Torquay United 0
A very committed performance brought Chorley back-to-back National League wins for the first time and now the Magpies remain bottom of the table only on goal-difference with three teams on 19 points.
A missed penalty cost Jamie Vermiglio’s men an easier second-half ride but they stood tall and soaked up Torquay’s pressure, though the visitors in truth did not possess that extra edge which might have produced an equaliser.
The sharpness of the league’s leading scorer Jamie Reid – out injured – was clearly much missed.
Experienced manager Gary Johnson pulled no punches in assessing his side’s poor performance.
He said: “You wouldn’t have realised who was bottom of the league and who was nearer the top. Chorley had more about them and they beat us in every area.
“From the first minute they were better than us. I feel for our travelling fans because we did absolutely nothing out there today.”
There was plenty of pace and energy in the game from the start but it took time to produce anything of real danger.
However, the Magpies struck in the 24th minute to create a lovely goal. Mark Ross played a one-two with Matt Challoner and slung over an inviting cross from which Marcus Carver beat Shaun MacDonald with a measured looping header from 10 yards.
Nortei Nortey was close to adding a second, firing only just wide from 25 yards.
As the interval approached Matt Urwin was twice called upon to make regulation saves but he excelled shortly after the break with a great stop from Ben Whitfield, Adam Blakeman hacking the loose ball clear.
Chorley were given the chance to extend their lead from a penalty on 52 minutes when Charles Vernam was felled in the box.
But McDonald guessed correctly and pulled off a superb diving save from Vernam’s spot-kick.
The Magpies lacked nothing in resolve and defended with impressive tenacity in the face of mounting Torquay pressure, while at the same time threatening on the break.
Vernam curled one fine effort just past the post and Nortey struck a low drive towards the bottom corner of the net, MacDonald again distinguishing himself in turning the ball behind.
Torquay did fashion a couple of late chances but Manny Duku could not convert either of them.
Off-balance at close range, he directly the ball tamely at Urwin and then forced the keeper to dive and smother his header.
But in the end the points stayed at Victory Park, a gritty win loudly acclaimed by the home fans in a decent crowd of 1,281.
“I’m delighted for everyone at the club but especially for the players, who have had a really tough time of it in this league,” said boss Vermiglio.
“We haven’t just dragged ourselves over the line today, we’ve played some good football and could have scored two or three.
“And when we had to defend, we defended very well. It’s still going to be tough but we’ve given ourselves a chance now to climb the table.”
CHORLEY: Urwin, Baines, Nortey, Meppen-Walter, Challoner, Ross, Blakeman, A Newby (O’Keefe 76), Carver (Massanka 80), Vernam (Cottrell 90+2). Subs not used: E Newby, Holroyd.