FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson conceded his off-key Rebels had been fortunate to beat 10-man Chorley to stay in the slipstream of UniBond First Division North leaders Curzon Ashton.
The lowly Magpies stunned Marginson's men when Stephen Burke gave them an eighth-minute lead, but the visitors then had Gavin Lee-Ellison sent off after he appeared to push Jerome Wright in the face.
Rory Patterson's 41st minute free-kick put FC back on terms, but they then had a series of lucky escapes and were relieved when substitute Simon Carden finally killed off Chorley with a 76th minute headed strike securing a win which takes them up to fourth.
"We were certainly not at our best," admitted Marginson, whose FC side have now taken 13 points from the last 15 to restore hopes of a third successive promotion.
Victory keeps the Rebels six points behind leaders Curzon, who ended their mini-slump in style by thrashing Bridlington 6-0, with Mike Norton helping himself to a hat-trick.