FC United 2 Chorley 0
Chorley were left to count the cost of missed opportunities after this second away defeat in four days.
So tight is the National League North that had they won those two games, they would have climbed into a play-off slot.
But the reality is that the Magpies have recently lacked conviction away from Victory Park and this was a third straight defeat without even a goal to show for their efforts in any of the matches.
In front of a bumper crowd of 4,150, the highest in the league this season and swelled by a strong Chorley contingent approaching 500, FC United won this contest readily enough.
But it was not until Dale Johnson’s 87th-minute solo strike that the points were finally secured.
Chorley offered gritty resistance, their cause not helped by the departure after 21 minutes of centre-back Kiel O’Brien with a suspected torn hamstring.
It was up front where the Magpies were short of firepower, a direct consequence of being regularly outgunned in midfield.
Their best chance came and went after just 15 minutes when, from Adam Roscoe’s clever overhead delivery, Jordan Connerton headed disappointingly over the bar.
The match overall lacked any pattern of clear-cut scoring chances, especially in a tight but uneventful first half.
It sparked into life two minutes after the break when a foul by Dale Whitham on Jerome Wright handed United a penalty which Wright himself converted.
A Wright cross almost produced a second goal, Mark Ross’s attempted clearance glancing off the bar.
A short-lived deluge caused play to be suspended but the chance to regroup did not kick-start a Chorley fightback.
And with three minutes of the 90 left, Dale Johnson neatly worked himself a shooting chance which he put away emphatically to seal United’s third successive victory.
Only a smart stop by Sam Ashton prevented Wright from back-heeling a third in added time.
CHORLEY: Ashton, Ross, Beesley, Charnock, O’Brien (Lynch 21), Roscoe, Jarvis (Evans 55), Whitham, Connerton (Dorney 65), Stephenson, Cottrell. Subs (not used): Meppen-Walter, Correia.