Stockport County 4 Chorley 2
Chorley’s four-match unbeaten run came to an end as table-climbing County avenged an earlier defeat at Victory Park in some style.
The reverse sent the Magpies back to the foot of the National League on goal-difference with three teams locked on 23 points.
Although Chorley had the boost of an early lead and enjoyed a measure of control in the first half, once County had overturned that advantage just before half-time the game changed irrevocably.
The hosts proceeded to boss the second half and go 4-1 up before Chorley replied with a late consolation second goal.
Following a Martin Smith free-kick in the seventh minute, Alex Newby controlled Courtney Meppen-Walter’s lay-off on the edge of the box and curled in a fine effort, which took a slight deflection on its way past Ben Hinchcliffe.
Newby was not far off with a drilled attempt as the Magpies continued on the front foot but they were undone on 27 minutes.
A neat County build-up down the left resulted in a low centre stroked in at close range by Nyall Bell.
Chorley had further chances before the break, Chris Holroyd seeing his shot deflected past the post and Marcus Carver blazing over the bar from just inside the penalty area.
But it was Stockport who crucially struck again in added time.
A low powerfully-struck Tom Walker free-kick somehow pierced the defensive wall and keeper Matt Urwin, perhaps unsighted, fumbled the shot, Festus Arthur reacting first to bundle the ball into the net.
County repeatedly built pressure after the interval, several shots flying narrowly off-target, but they had to wait until the 66th minute to achieve a decisive two-goal lead.
This time a long ball out of defence reached the dangerous Bell who twisted and turned past two defenders before beating Urwin with a tremendous low cross-shot.
With 10 minutes to play, Walker completed the Hatters’ triumph with a superb strike from 25 yards which flew high into the net.
To their credit, Chorley kept plugging away, Newby firing just past the post and Nortei Nortey seeing a drive parried by Hinchcliffe.
The Magpies’ persistence was rewarded in added time when following a short corner, N’tumba Massanka headed past Hinchcliffe at close range.
Manager Jamie Vermiglio was unhappy with the way goals were conceded and with the missed opportunites in the first half.
He said: “We weren’t good enough in both boxes and were opened up too easily at the back.
“Fair play to Stockport, they were on top in the second half but didn’t have to work too hard for three of their goals.”
CHORLEY: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman (Baines 58), Carver, Meppen-Walters, Teague (Massanka 71), A Newby, Ross, Smith, Nortey, Holroyd (E Newby 71). Subs not used: O’Keefe, Cottrell.