The term ‘narrow victory’ took on a whole new meaning in the clash between last season’s two play-offs winners Rushall and Chorley.
The hosts eventually hung onto a one-goal advantage gained mid-way through the first half but were under siege throughout the second period.
They somehow survived a barrage of shots in the last 15 minutes, when the home goalmouth resembled a shooting-gallery.
A relatively uneventful first half was enlivened by a spectacular strike by Olympic’s Ahmed Obeng on 23 minutes.
Capitalising on full-back Tom Walker’s inexplicable error in redirecting a harmless centre back across the Chorley box, Obeng showed great technique in volleying an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
Although the Magpies created space down the flanks for several telling crosses, the support or accurate finish was missing.
It was a much more assertive Chorley who emerged for the second half.
After substitute Chris Denham had a strong shot well held by Chris Gemmell, the home keeper did an even better to keep out a stinging low drive from Steve Foster at full stretch.
Rushall were increasingly penned in and around their own penalty area as the blockade intensified in the final quarter-hour.
Gemmell held a Foster rocket and then was beaten by the same player’s cross-shot which flew just beyond the far post.
Adam Roscoe saw a blockbuster cleared off the line and then, following a corner, Tom Ince and Roscoe in succession had shots blocked in the jaws of goal.
As the match moved into added time, Ince teed up Andy Russell whose powerful header cannoned out off the bar and Jamie Vermiglio was the next Chorley player to see a piledriver blocked by a defender on the line.
To compound the Magpies’ frustration, Dale Whitham was red-carded for a second outburst towards the referee, and there was still time for Roscoe to fire hastily over the bar from a clear scoring chance.
Also in the NPL Premier Division, Burscough went down 3-1 at home to Frickley Athletic, Mark Beesley scoring their goal.
In the NPL Division One North, a Keigan Parker hat-trick helped Fylde to a 4-0 win over Cammell Laird, but Clitheroe lost 4-1 at home to Trafford.
Ryan Salmon scored Bamber Bridge’s goal in a 3-1 defeat at Garforth Town. Second-half strikes from David Swarbrick (68) and Lee Dodgson (79) gave Lancaster a 2-0 home win over Wakefield.
Kendal Town drew 3-3 at Stourbridge in the FA Trophy second qualifying round.