Chorley suffered a cruel late blow in an enthralling game at Victory Park.

The luckless Magpies hit the crossbar three times before a wonder strike from a free-kick three minutes from time settled a thrilling cut-and-thrust encounter, Matthew Tierney’s 35-yards’ bullet giving the Red Rebels three points when, after surviving a second-half siege, they would surely have settled for one.

The excitement never flagged in a pulsating match which was always on a knife-edge.

Chorley created the most chances in the first half, Tom Ince hit a rising drive just too high and Dale Whitham headed over from a well-flighted corner.

But as United improved, Michael Norton gave them the lead in the 36th minute after firing through a ruck of players into the bottom corner.

The lead lasted just seven minutes. John Cunliffe completed a mazy run into the box with a strong shot which James Spencer could only parry and Whitham crashed home the loose ball. After the break, Whitham and Adam Roscoe both hit the bar before Tierney’s rocket sealed it.