Altrincham 5 Chorley 3
Two goals in the last six minutes condemned Chorley to defeat after a rip-roaring second half which produced seven of this incredible game’s eight goals.
For the second time this season the Magpies finished on the wrong end of this particular scoreline.
And there were echoes here of the previous defensive horror-show at Southport, as Altrincham’s pace and penetrative attacking style repeatedly unsettled the visitors’ defence.
“Altrincham deserved the three points,” said Jamie Vermiglio.
“It’s disappointing to score three away from home and get nothing from the game but they are a very good side, though we made it too easy for them at times and some of our decision-making was poor.”
Chorley recovered from going two down early in the second half to level at 2-2 and during their best spell of the game, equalised again to make it 3-3.
But a stunning free-kick in the 84th minute and a late penalty saw the Robins strengthen their play-offs hopes and deny Chorley the chance to draw level with Stockport County, who lost at home to Blyth Spartans.
In a high-tempo start, Altrincham went ahead in the ninth minute when Jordan Hulme skipped past two defenders to finish low past Matt Urwin.
John Johnston missed a great chance to double the hosts’ lead from an inviting cross from Blackpool loanee Yousifu Ceesay, whose pace was a constant threat to the Chorley back-division.
But in the 50th minute Johnston made amends, delivering a clever inswinging free-kick which Tom Hennigan headed home at close range.
Within a minute, however, the Magpies pulled one back, Andy Teague heading in Alex Newby’s free-kick.
As the exchanges became increasingly fast and furious, Chorley gained a measure of control and deservedly equalised in the 68th minute – a superb Teague volley following a recycled corner.
Parity lasted only three minutes, as the lively Shaun Densmore stole in to restore Altrincham’s lead but again Chorley levelled 12 minutes from time, Courtney Meppen-Walter heading home from a corner.
With Stockport trailing 1-0 to Blyth, could Chorley at least hold onto the point?
Not with Densmore around!
With six minutes left, he swept home a wonderful curling free-kick from 25 yards and then in the 88th minute James Poole drilled a penalty past Urwin – just – following a foul by Scott Leather, who having already been booked was perhaps lucky to see out the match.
With Stockport still one point clear of Chorley at the top, and appearing to have the easier last two post-Easter fixtures, next Saturday’s showdown with County at Victory Park has surely become a must-win game for the Magpies, if they are to retain realistic hopes of the title.
Vermiglio said: “Well be ready for it, we’ll be up for it and we’ll give it absolutely everything.”
CHORLEY: Urwin, Jordan (Whitham 61), Blakeman, Teague, Leather (Tuton 88), Meppen-Walter, A Newby, Cottrell, Carver (Almond 84), Wilson, E Newby. Subs (not used): Hooper, Anson.