Chorley boss writes for the Lancashire Post
It’s been a week of highs and lows at Chorley. We’ve gone from the ecstasy of defeating Stockport County at Edgeley Park in the play-off qualification round, to the utter heartbreak of a last-minute defeat against Harrogate Town on Sunday which ended our fantastic season.
The Stockport County match was incredible. To play in front of a crowd of 6,500-7,000 people was always going to be a challenge for the lads but, my word, did they produce when it mattered.
We weathered the storm in the first half and I think Stockport just edged the first 45 minutes, but we knew the longer it went without them scoring the crowd would add real pressure.
In the second half we showed just what we’re about – passion, ability, determination and above all dedication to the cause.
The never-say-die attitude showed when Jason Walker grabbed a real poacher’s goal with around 20 minutes to play, to give us the 1-0 win and set up a tie at Harrogate Town in the semi-final.
We knew going into the match at the CNG Stadium that it was going to be a difficult one. It’s an artificial surface, which the lads aren’t used to and the heat during the game made it extra difficult, with us needing a couple of water breaks in-game.
However, we fancied our chances against Harrogate, having won our last five on the spin, so we went into the match full of confidence.
Josh O’Keefe gave us the lead around 10 minutes before half-time. He’s been incredible all season, as have all the lads, but Josh’s engine in every game he’s played has been exceptional.
He covers every blade of grass and doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
There were, unfortunately, a few refereeing decisions which didn’t go our way in the match.
We were reduced to 10 men early on, and Harrogate were awarded a soft penalty.
The winner at the end was a real kick in the teeth and all the coaching staff, players and supporters were quite rightly heart broken.
It’s a real shame that an entire season came down to a late goal like that, but I guess that’s football – sometimes you don’t get what you deserve.
A word on the supporters over the course of the season - you have been incredible, particularly over the last few weeks. To see over 1,000 of you at Stockport and a similar number at Harrogate was fantastic and all the lads really appreciate your support.
I’ve mentioned the phrase we use at Chorley FC a few times this season - OTOBOWROA - “Our team, our belief, our work rate, our ability.”
These are the qualities everyone in this club has and it has been a fantastic season at this football club. We’ll sit down and lick our wounds for a few days now, but we’ll come back again next season stronger, ready for another fight to reach the National League.
Matt Jansen was talking to Harry Lyons