Chorley fought back from two down to earn a massive point with a 95th minute equaliser as rivals Skelmersdale lost at ten-man Matlock while Fylde could also only draw on their travels.
The first half started well with Chorley pressing. James Dean forced a fantastic save from Albion keeper Matt Cooper after just seven minutes. The big striker received a cross from Jack Dorney, and with his back to goal hammered in a scissor kick which Cooper pushed onto the bar then a Dean header from a Dale Whitham delivery went narrowly wide.
Alex Titchiner, a player Garry Flitcroft targeted earlier in the season, raced at goal but Sam Ashton gather well with Wittons first real sight on goal on 17 minutes, which began the home side’s first spell of possession.
Following a Mark Ross tackle that rewarded the full-back with a yellow card, Josh Hancock’s free-kick was deflected wide for a corner, but minutes later the same play found the back of the net when hs pinched the ball off the Magpies defence on the edge of the box and slotted in beyond Ashton in the 23rd minute.
Five minutes later it was two-nil, and the goal was gifted to Albion by keeper Aston. With Keil O’Brien under pressure from Tutchiner, Ashton raced out and attempted to clear the ball, but is cannoned of the Mapiges defender and straight into the ex-Fleetwood players path and his made no mistake with an open goal.
Two down with a little over an hour to play Chorley needed to find another gear, but the performance continued to be disjointed at best, with some good spells and poor spells at both ends of the pitch.
Paul Woolcott forced Cooper into a rare mistake, flushing a simple save from the midfielders 25 yard shot, but luckily for the keeper the ball crept wide of the goal, the from the resulting corner Dean headed inches over the bar.
Titchiner sliced a chance wide then ex-Magpie Ali Brown was denied by an Ashton block then saving from Titchiner off the rebound.
Chris Almond, who had a quiet first half, attempted to lob Cooper just before the break but lifted the ball over keeper and bar.
After the restart Chorley began the hunt for a goal. Cooper raced to clear a shot but the ball landed at the feet of Whitham, but the midfielder’s effort was cleared off the line by Brown.
Paul Jarvis was brought on for Jake Cottrell to add width to the attack, but just four minutes later he was forced to switch to left-back following an injury to Adam Mather which could see the defender side-lined for a while, Adam Roscoe replacing Mather.
Cooper denied Dean again, this time tipped a shot over the bar. It wasn’t all one-way traffic with Michael Powell beating Ashton in the air, but he couldn’t keep his header down.
Danny Andrews could have done better with a free-kick on the edge of the area for the hosts then Andy Teague headed over from a Jarvis corner as the ball went from end to end; Chorley presses and Witton breaking.
Martyn Jackson could have sealed the win on 68 minutes, as too could Powell four minutes later, but on both occasions Ashton saved well.
Whitham almost knocked the goal posts over when his crashed a forty-yarder into the framework with the keeper well beaten, then Ashton again denied Witton a third goal, clawing away a dinked effort from Jackson after good play from Titchiner.
Titchiner was then withdrawn much to the relief of the travelling Chorley army, and two minutes later the game was on.
A Ross long throw found Almond and his volley which slammed into the ground bounced over Cooper and into the far side netting for his first goal in black & white.
Dean was replaced with Brandon Zibaka surprising many with his appearance as his name wasn’t on the original team sheet. The former Preston player was a last minute replacement for Darren Stephenson who was injured in the pre-match warm-up with a heel injury.
Chorley’s tails were now well and truly up. Roscoe headed wide from a Jarvis corner, while the lively Zibaka was causing the home side problems with his pace and movement.
With the 90 minutes up the referee signalled for five additional minutes, then booked Cooper after repeatedly warning the keeper for time-wasting
Chorley pilled the pressure on with Teague now playing as an additional striker and with literally the final kick of the game Zibaka slotting from five yards with his first Chorley goal to the relief and disbelief of supporters at both ends of the ground – there wasn’t even time for the game to restart it was that late!
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross, Adam Mather, Andy Teague, Keil O'Brien, Jake Cottrell, Jack Dorney, Paul Woolcott, James Dean, Dale Whitham, Chris Almond
Subs: Paul Jarvis, Adam Roscoe, Brandon Zibaka, Jamie Vermiglio, Aaron Grundy
Goals: Joshua Hancock (23), Alex Titchiner (28), CHRIS ALMOND (82), BRANDON ZIBAKA (90+5)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Dale Whitham, a force in midfield