Jubilant Magpies’ supporters may well have raised a celebratory glass to referee Anthony Tankard who eased Chorley’s path to a 3-0 victory at Tamworth which lifted them to third place in the Conference North table.
Not only did the official issue straight red cards to two Tamworth players in the first half but in between the dismissals, he angered home fans by overruling his linesman and awarding the visitors a second goal.
As a result, the second half was little more than a stroll in the sunshine for the Magpies, though valiant resistance by Tamworth prevented Chorley from icing their cake with a fine third goal until the closing minutes.
In truth, the referee’s interventions were hardly crucial as the visitors never looked in danger of missing out on three points.
They had the home defence stretched, before Tamworth full-back Shane Clarke saw red on 28 minutes for a scything touchline challenge on Jack Dorney.
Sam Ashton in the Chorley goal was hardly tested before the Magpies took the lead after 40 minutes to trigger five minutes of pre-interval mayhem for Tamworth.
Jake Cottrell floated over a left-wing cross which Josh Hine at the far post was allowed to head unchallenged into the corner of the net.
Three minutes later, James Dean stretched to flick another left-wing centre beyond the keeper, only to see the linesman’s flag raised for offside.
However, the referee after a short consultation with his assistan,t allowed the goal to stand.
Worse followed for the Lambs seconds before the break when Cottrell was floored by a stray elbow in an aerial challenge with captain Paul Green, who was promptly sent off.
Chorley contented themselves with some pleasing possession football after the restart without unlocking a massed home defence.
In a Tamworth counter, John Townsend almost deceived Ashton with a 30-yard floater which bounced off the bar, then hard-working centre-forward Dave Hibbert glanced a right-wing centre just past the far post.
But the Magpies underlined their victory four minutes from time when Darren Stephenson broke through down the left and squared the ball perfectly for Hine, up in support, to score with ease.
Elsewhere, Southport rued missed chances at Eastleigh in the Conference Premier, when they went down 2-1, the second an own goal in the third minute of injury time.
And in the Conference North, AFC Fylde were 8-1 winners at Oxford City. Richie Allen (2), an own goal, Danny Rowe (2), Liam Tomsett and Mike Barnes (2) got the goals.
Other results – NPL First Division North: Burscough 1 Harrogate Railway Athletic 3, Kendal Town 2 Brighouse Town 2, Mossley 3 Lancaster City 0, Ossett Albion 2 Bamber Bridge 3. Friday: Clitheroe 2 New Mills 2.