It was a rueful Jamie Vermiglio left to contemplate the two points that got away deep into added time at Victory Park.
Dover snatched a somewhat fortunate draw with a half-hit shot in the 94th minute of a run-of-the-mill game which the Magpies had done just about enough to win.
“I don’t see it as a point gained,” said the Chorley boss. “I’m disappointed that we’ve lost two points so late in the game.
“The boys have played really well, created more chances and were worthy of a win.
“But credit to Dover – they kept going to the end and threw everything at us, but I thought we were comfortable in defence and unfortunately it was a scuffed shot that earned them the draw.”
Vermiglio to his credit refrained from referring to the flu-type virus which has plagued his squad in the last 10 days, in the light of which this was a highly creditable, energy-draining display by his troops.
Chorley took the battle to Dover and certainly mustered the more threatening shots on goal.
They were very close to an opening goal as early as the seventh minute. Courtney Meppen-Walter – the game’s outstanding player – met a corner with a powerful rising drive which had keeper Lee Worgan beaten but was headed out from under the bar by a covering defender.
At the other end, Inih Effiong had a sharp chance from a corner but failed to keep his shot down, the ball clearing the bar with something to spare.
As the Magpies continued on the front foot, a poor clearance from the visitors’ defence left Marcus Carver with a run on goal but a defender got across to put in a last-ditch challenge and divert his shot for a corner.
Then Alex Newby struck a 20-yard volley which flashed just over the Dover bar.
Just before the break, however, it was Dover who came close to snatching the lead, Will De-Havilland glancing a header narrowly wide from a free-kick.
Chris Holroyd was presented with a clear shooting chance by Matt Challoner soon after the interval but he fired disappointingly straight at Worgan from 12 yards.
The deadlock was finally broken after 73 minutes when Newby added another fine goal to his collection.
Receiving a pass slipped in from the right, he wriggled clear of a couple of challenges inside the box before driving a low shot emphatically past Worgan to the delight of home fans in a crowd of 1,054.
But Dover were not done with and Matt Urwin twice made smart near-post saved from well-struck angled efforts.
As Chorley’s best outlet, Carver’s determined runs kept the visitors’ defence on its toes and resolute defensive work looked all set to deliver a priceless victory.
But with barely a minute of stoppage time remaining, Dover were awarded a free-kick just beyond the halfway line, which Worgan slung into the mix in the Chorley penalty-area.
The ball fell kindly for skipper Kevin Lokko, who chested it down before sending a scuffed shot creeping into the corner of the net and silencing any premature victory celebrations among the home support.
A game of fine margins indeed – but at least the Magpies will not spend Christmas at the foot of the table.
CHORLEY: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Ross, Meppen-Walter, Baines, A Newby, Smith, Nortey Nortei (O’Keefe,57), Carver (Massanka 90+3), Holroyd (Dodds 84). Subs (not used): Teague, Almond.