Chorley suffered Easter Monday heartbreak at Spennymoor, first missing penalty and then stunned by a 94th-minute Glen Taylor header which takes the destiny of the National League North title out of their hands.
If title-rivals Stockport win their final match on Saturday against already-relegated Nuneaton Borough the championship will be theirs and the Magpies will be left battling away in the play-offs.
This was in fairness always going to be a difficult assignment after the titanic battle and victory over Stockport on Saturday.
And, though unchanged, the Magpies looked leggy against a Spennymoor team who had an extra day’s recovery time.
The home side bossed the first half, creating numerous chances.
Shooting down the very steep bank at Brewery Field, Spennymoor forced corner after corner in the first 20 minutes, but Matt Urwin was only called into action once, when Courtney Meppen-Walter’s mistake gave Ryan Hall a sight at goal.
Much better opportunities followed, chiefly when three came and went in the space of 10 seconds.
The first effort by Rob Ramshaw was blocked, Glen Taylor’s rebound was saved brilliantly by Urwin, before Stephen Brogan hit the post which allowed Andy Teague to clear.
The visitors began the second half in much better fashion and Josh Wilson almost found the opening goal but headed wide from Adam Blakeman’s prompting.
However, slowly but surely, Spennymoor came into the game again. Hall turned the burners on to beat Scott Leather but he couldn’t find a way past Urwin, before Taylor’s superb acrobatic effort struck the inside of Urwin’s post.
The Magpies’ cause was not helped by the enforced withdrawal of skipper Andy Teague with 15 minutes to go and things only got worse.
With nine minutes left came the pivotal moment of the match. Marcus Carver fell under pressure from Kris Thackray, referee Tom Parsons pointed to the spot, and Blakeman’s penalty agonisingly found the gloves of keeper Gould.
All that was left with seconds remaining was for Brogan’s in-swinging corner to find the head of the league’s top scorer Taylor, unmarked in the six-yard box, and Chorley’s misery was complete.
At the final whistle several of the players lay distraught on the turf, unable to comprehend the scale of this late, late loss – when a point from the game would have left the title still in the Magpies’ own hands.
Chorley: Urwin; Challoner, Blakeman, Teague (Jordan 75), Leather, Meppen-Walter, A.Newby, Cottrell, Carver, Wilson (Almond 85), E.Newby (O’Keefe 66). Subs not used: Whitham, Anson.