A first-minute Adam Roscoe goal proved enough to give Chorley all three Evo-Stik Premier Division points against a below-par Frickley Athletic on Saturday.
Roscoe nodded in the decisive goal from a corner kick on the first attack of the game and the hosts failed to find a response in what was one of the most disappointing performances of the season for Karl Rose’s men.
Rose gave a debut to Callum Howe, a young defender signed on loan from Scunthorpe United, in the Blues’ back four, but there was no Gavin Allott, who was sidelined through injury.
The hosts went into the game keen to bounce back from their midweek home loss against FC United of Manchester but the visitors made a scintillating start to immediately but Frickley on the back foot.
Chorley forced a corner on the left in their opening attack, and the flag kick was headed on by Darren Stephenson for an unmarked Roscoe to nod in from close range.
Rose’s men suffered another blow when they lost David Buck through injury 12 minutes in, although Gareth Clayton, his replacement, emerged as the most influential player in an under-achieving side.
Blues goalkeeper Jamie Green did well to save a 15th-minute Roscoe free-kick, while at the other end the hosts could not penetrate a much taller Chorley cover, which had full control of Frickley’s aerial threat.
The closest Frickley came was in the 35th minute when Terry Barick fired a shot wide, and the same player saw a free-kick blocked early in the second half.
The visitors could have doubled their lead ten minutes after the restart when Stephenson beat Green in a race for the ball and lobbed the Blues goalkeeper but saw his effort hit the post.
Loanee Howe was a threat for Frickley with a shot blocked in the 76th minute before placing a header just over the bar from the resulting free-kick.
A penetrating run by Joe Wilcox five minutes later saw his hard, low cross strike one of his own players and go behind, summing up Frickley’s frustrating afternoon.
Stephenson drilled a 20-yard drive inches wide in the closing stages, but Chorley were mainly content to absorb pressure and frustrate the hosts as they held on for three points.
Frickley: Jamie Green, Joe Wilcox, Chris Fisher, Jake Picton, David Buck (Gareth Clayton 12), Callum Howe, Terry Barwick (Chris Howarth 73), Matty Bloor, Luke Hinsley (Liam Hardy 57), Chris Wood, Jimmy Ghaichem. Unused subs, Danny Walsh, Zack Levers.
Chorley: Jack Cudworth, Mark Ross (Ash Parillion 46), Andy Russell, Andy Teague, Keil O’Brien, John Cunliffe, Adam Roscoe, Dale Whitham, Cameron Darkwah (Ahmadi Porya 73), Darren Stephenson, Paul Jarvis (Tom Ince 52). Unused subs: Steve Flitcroft, Matt Jansen.
Referee: Geoffrey Liddle