A jaded Chorley side were completely outclassed by FC United last night.
The only Magpie to emerge from the game with any credit was keeper Peter Collinge who kept the score down with a series of top-class saves.
As it was, a double from the league's leading scorer Rory Patterson and a last-minute effort from Stuart Rudd were more than enough to see off the visitors, who never looked as if they would score their first goal in four games.
The game was dominated by United's skilful and pacy midfield trio, the Baguley brothers and Jerome Wright, and chances were created at regular intervals.
If a number of these chances went begging, and the midfielders themselves were as guilty as the frontrunners at times in squandering them, much of that was down to Collinge's resistance.
The opening goal arrived in the ninth minute when Wright's cross from the byeline was bundled home by Patterson, and, though United dominated the rest of the half, they failed to increase their lead.
As half-time approached Chorley might easily have levelled when Eckersley and Nolan combined to send Drew clear and his shot from just inside the box only just missed the target.
United and Patterson doubled their lead in the 50th minute with a carbon copy of the first goal, Wright again the provider.
Not long after, Patterson looked certain to complete his hat-trick a s he left the Chorley rearguard in his wake and rounded Collinge, but before he could convert the opportunity the defenders regrouped and smothered his effort.
United remained in control, creating and missing chances at will, while Chorley's rare excursions into opposition territory never really threatened to break their duck, though Eckersley should have done better than clear the bar by yards when receiving the ball by the penalty spot courtesy of a misplaced defensive header.
Soon after, Collinge made his best save of the night when he acrobatically tipped a 30-yard free-kick from Chris Baguley round the post.
But it was to no avail as Rudd gave a more realistic look to the scoreline with his last-minute strike.
Chorley: Collinge, Clark, Taylor, Fletcher, Mullineux (Coyne 75), Drew, Eckersley, Ellison, Burke, Nolan (Walker 66), Goodeve (Brookes 66).
Last Updated: 27 March 2008 9:38 AM