Chorley’s inconsistent start to the season continued as they slipped to a third defeat in seven games against fellow promotion hopefuls Hednesford Town.

Team selection was once again hampered by injuries, with Kieran Walmsley joining Jamie Vermiglio, Tom Walker, Steve Flitcroft and Ashley Parillon on the sidelines, although there was good news with the return to action of def-ender Andy Russell.

It looked good for the home side on 28 minutes when Adam Roscoe’s looping header beat Dan Crane in the Pitmen’s goal.

But strikes in the dying minutes of each half, a Nathan Woolfe free kick on 43 minutes, and a one-on-one from Alex Melbourne, saw the points head down the M6 to Staff- ordshire.

Darren Stephenson, who has made a big impact since joining on loan from Southport, almost opened the scoring after just 20 seconds, but his first-time shot slammed into the foot of the post.

Dale Whitham volleyed wide, but Roscoe broke the deadlock when he rose above the away defence to nod home a Chris Denham cross to put the Magpies in front.

But a foul on Dave MacPherson presented Woolfe with a free kick.

The former Bolton Wanderers winger took it well, sending the ball over the wall and into the far corner.

After the restart, the late goal looked to have lifted the visitors and deflated the hosts as Hednesford took control of the game.

But Cudworth was the star man with a string of saves, including a fantastic outstretched one- handed save to deny Barbados international striker Neil Harvey.

Melbourne netted the winner for Hednesford three minutes from time, beating Cudworth after Simon Garner had lost possession.