AFC Fylde suffered their first home defeat of the season in front of a record crowd at Mill Farm against rivals Chorley.
A phenomenal 3,858 supporters watched on as Magpies striker Jason Walker netted either side of the break to cut Fylde’s lead at the top of the National League North to six points.
Midfielder James Hardy failed a late fitness test before the match, forcing manager Dave Challinor into a change with former Chorley man Darren Stephenson filling in.
The first opportunity came Fylde’s way after just three minutes when Andy Bond whipped in a dangerous corner that fell kindly at the feet of Stephenson, but the frontman couldn’t force it home and Caspar Hughes fired the loose ball narrowly wide.
Josh Langley tested the goalkeeper soon after but his header looped into Shaun Rowley’s grateful arms.
It was one-way traffic in the early stages as Dan Bradley broke free down the right, but Brendon Daniels and Bond both went for the same ball and the latter could only get a scuffed connection that rolled to Rowley.
Chorley hit back with a double chance of their own when first Kieran Charnock’s toe-poke was cleared off the line by Caspar Hughes, before Marcus Carver’s header was clawed away by keeper Rhys Taylor after the ball had been floated back in.
The momentum was now with the visitors and Adam Roscoe wasn’t far away after meeting a clever corner on the edge of the box with a powerful strike.
Top scorer Rowe saw his first sight of goal on the half-hour mark when he feinted one way then the other before whipping a vicious strike over the top of Rowley’s crossbar.
Chorley had perhaps the best chance of the opening thirty minutes when some slack play on the edge of the Fylde area saw left-back Adam Blakeman race onto a loose ball and fire his shot across goal and agonisingly wide.
Fylde had to make an early change when Stephenson’s afternoon was ended early ten minutes before the break, Bohan Dixon the replacement.
Chorley continued to look threatening and only a last-gasp tackle from Langley prevented Carver from turning home a dangerous cross.
However, seconds later, the visitors broke the deadlock. Carver flicked a long ball onto Walker and the frontman cut onto his left foot and rifled home from ten yards.
Chorley took just two minutes to double their advantage after the break and it was another disappointing goal from the home point of view.
Dale Witham launched a free-kick to the back post and the unmarked Walker arrived to smash the ball home. The goalscorer almost had his hat-trick a moment later when he raced clean through although this time Taylor got down well to his low snapshot.
The Coasters began to turn up the pressure and Dixon nodded just over as the hosts looked for an immediate response.
Fylde should have had a goal back when Macauley Wilson nicked the ball on the 18-yard line but his low cross fizzed past Bradley who was lurking on the six yard line..
Full-back Wilson threatened again soon after when he met Tom Kennedy’s cross from the left but he headed over under pressure from his marker. The chances kept on coming and the ball arrived too quickly at Bond for him to get a real shot away from Wilson’s cross.
Dixon was a bright spark for the home side and galloped through the Chorley midfield before seeing a low strike deflected around the post with the goalkeeper stranded.
Former Barrow striker Walker was proving a thorn in the side of the Coasters’ backline and again went close with a curling left-footed effort after being allowed to cut in from the right.
Rowe lined up for a trademark set-piece with fifteen minutes to go but his powerful attempt was smothered by Rowley.
The hosts were enjoying the majority of the possession as the match entered the final ten minutes but the Chorley backline was holding strong. Wilson again arrived at the back post from a corner but couldn’t get a connection as the clock ticked on.
How the Coasters didn’t pull one back in the second minute of added time was a mystery as Bond rattled the crossbar with a free-kick and Rowe saw his effort from the rebound scrambled off the line.
AFC Fylde: Taylor, Wilson, Langley, Williams, Kennedy, Bond, C. Hughes (Blinkorn 83), Bradley, Stephenson (Dixon 35), Daniels (M. Hughes 72), Rowe.
Subs: Collins, Baker.
Chorley: Rowley, Challoner, Blakeman, Sheron, Leather, Charnock, Roscoe, Witham, Carver (Teague 90), Walker (Beesley 90), Cottrell.
Subs: O’Keefe, Southworth, Azam.
Ref: Steven Copeland