Defeat cannot take gloss off it for Matt

Dale Whitham in action against FC Halifax Town on Saturday (Photo: Josh Vosper)
Dale Whitham in action against FC Halifax Town on Saturday (Photo: Josh Vosper)
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Chorley boss Matt Jansen says securing a place in the National League North play-offs is on par with the feeling of scoring in a cup final.

His Magpies side survived an anxious two-minute wait after a 2-0 home defeat by Halifax before Stockport’s result confirmed Chorley’s spot in the final four.

County had slipped up and missed a chance to leapfrog Jansen’s men as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Gloucester.

With fifth-placed Darlington 1883 unable to compete in the play-offs due to stadium issues, Stockport’s failure to win ensured the Magpies’ sixth-placed finish was enough to secure a semi-final double header with Kidderminster.

Now they have a shot at promotion to the National League.

The game itself at Victory Park was a bit of an anti-climax, with Chorley dominant but lacking a ruthless edge in front of goal, while Halifax were clinical.

It was a goalkeeping error from emergency Nuneaton loanee Christian Dibble on only his second appearance for the Magpies that helped the visitors take the lead five minutes before the break.

Dibble parried Jordan Sinnott’s angled effort into the path of poacher Tom Denton who fired home the rebound.

Chorley came out fighting in the second half with Adam Blakeman rattling the post.

But eyes were elsewhere for most of the half, with many around the ground following the action at Stockport’s Edgeley Park.

Gloucester’s 72nd-minute leveller ensured the Magpies could not be toppled despite going two-down themselves.

Kieran Charnock’s trip on Danny Clarke in the box allowed Halifax’s Liam King to make the scoreline 2-0 to the Shaymen in injury time.

There was a tense wait at full-time as players, staff and the crowd waited for that full-time tweet from Stockport that would confirm their play-off place.

And when it came the defeat was forgotten as the Magpies celebrated a fine season.

Jansen said: “I’m delighted. There were mixed emotions when we were going through the game – Stockport going in front, us going behind – we were out of it and then we were in it.

“But it is not about Saturday, it is about the season and the boys have been fantastic all season and we deserve to be were we are.

“It was a little bit nervous, a little bit tense.

“But the final whistle blew and we were elated – it was like I’d scored a cup final goal again, it was brilliant.

“I’m proud of the lads and the whole club because everyone has put their work into getting to where we are – it is fantastic for Chorley.

“After the game there were overwhelming emotions.

“All we needed to do was get into the play-offs and that is massive for this football club.

“We have punched above our weight this season.”