HomeSTATSMatch ReportsSeason 2016/17FC Halifax Town 2-1 Chorley13/05/2017

FC Halifax Town 2-1 Chorley13/05/2017

Saturday May 13th, 3pm
National League North Play-Off

Chorley will once again contest the National League North next season, however it took extra time to settle the contest in an enthralling play off final against Halifax Town.

A league record crowd of 7920, with a superb travelling contingent of 1941 from Chorley were treated to an entertaining game of football.

It was Chorley who started off on the front footing as Cottrell made an early run down the left and punted the ball towards goal, however he hit the side netting.  Following a Halifax corner, Chorley cleared their lines and sent the ball towards Carver who managed to chase it down, however Johnson, between the sticks was able to get to it first and kicked the ball to safety.

On five minutes, Peniket latched onto a loose ball, but Teague defended resolutely to the applause of the travelling fans.  Carver, who had an excellent game, had two chances within the space of three minutes.  The first on nine minutes saw the ball played forward, which Carver kicked on, but fell foul of the offside trap.  Then on eleven, the number nine had a run at goal, however Johnson was able to come out and collect.

On eighteen, Teague played a deep ball to Cottrell who headed it on to O’Keefe, however he wasn’t able to control it from eight yards out.    At the other end, Halifax were awarded a free kick from 40 yards out, but the ball, which was whipped in, sailed over the top bar.

Nine minutes later, great link up play from Teague and Challoner who did a one-two.  The captain played in the ball but it was headed away.  On the half hour, Blakeman had a shot from distance, but the ball went over the bar.

There was a moment of danger for Chorley as a long throw into the box fell kindly for a Halifax player, but his shot landed squarely for Branagan.  A couple of minutes later there was another chance for Chorley as a useful ball came in from Blakeman to O’Keefe.  O’Keefe attempted a flick on but the score remained goalless.

Halifax had a chance on thirty seven minutes when Charles played a ball into the box, but there was nobody there to connect from six yards out.

There was an early enforced substitution for Chorley as Jordan made way for Charnock seven minutes before half time,  A minute late there was a close opportunity for the visitors as Challoner played a great ball in.  A Halifax player headed the ball across goal but there was nobody to connect.

Just before the break there was a scrappy encounter in the Chorley box following a Halifax throw in. The ball fell for Lynch who had a shot from18 yards out, but the shot fell just wide.  As four minutes of time added on was signalled, Challoner had a run down the wing and played the ball through to Sampson, however his shot was held by the keeper.

Halifax took an early lead in the second half as the ball was played forward to Kevin Roberts, who rounded Blakeman and slotted easily under Branagan.

Undeterred by setback, Cottrell had a chance as he tried a shot at distance, but Johnson held easily.  The Magpies continued to apply pressure, looking for an equaliser.  A long Blakeman throw into the box was held by the keeper.

Just before the hour mark, O’Keefe made way for Walker, just before the referee blew for a free kick on the edge of the Halifax area after Blakeman was cynically taken down.  And it was Blakeman who stood up and arrowed the ball past the wall and into the bottom corner of the net.

Chorley continued to apply the pressure as Johnson had a poor clearance which fell to Sampson, however he was unable to capitalise.

A goalmouth scramble ensued in the Halifax area and the ball was whipped in by Cottrell. The loose ball fell to Carver but he couldn’t connect and the score stayed level.  At the other end, the ball bounced around in the area and Denton flicked onto Lynch, however his shot landed squarely with Branagan.

Ten minutes to go and Challoner looped a fantastic ball in, which Walker latched onto, but his headed was straight at the keeper.  The dangerous Denton flicked a ball onto Sinnott who had a shot from 25 yards out, however Branagan, in excellent form, turned the ball away.

The fourth official indicated six minutes of added on time.  Cottrell sent a ball in towards Sampson but it was overhit and the score remained equal.  Added pressure from Chorley as the minutes ticked down.  Blakeman had a first time shot from distance but it landed straight at the keeper.

And that’s how normal time ended, with the referee whistling, signalling thirty minutes time to be added on.

In the first period, Teague was taken down and a free kick was awarded from forty yards out.  Blakeman fired the shot in, but the ball flew over everyone’s heads and out for a goal kick.  This was swiftly followed by a sublime ball from Challoner into the box, for Sampson to head back across goal but Whitham just couldn’t get there to slot the ball in the net.

On 99 minutes, Halifax were given a free kick twenty five yards out after Whitham brought down Roberts. The free kick was curled around the wall and tipped behind by Branagan.  A Halifax throw in shortly after was flicked on and Garner managed to dink the ball over Branagan to make the score 2-1.

Whitham, who had been suffering from cramp was substituted just before half time in extra time, making way for Adam Roscoe.

In the final fifteen minutes of the game, Halifax won a corner and a shot in was defended by Teague and after a goal mouth scramble, the ball was hit over the bar.  A goal kick was given and Branagan launched the ball downfield.  Roscoe connected with the ball but his shot was straight at the keeper.

Leather, sporting a head bandage after being brought down by Denton earlier in the game, was once again felled by the tall forward whilst chasing a loose ball.  The set piece from 40 yards out was drifted on and Carver’s flick on hits the top of the netting.

Chorley began to throw everyone forward at this point, chasing an equaliser.  Walker was brought down and another free kick was awarded.  Scorer Blakeman whipped the ball in from 35 yards out into a packed box but nobody could convert.  Halifax broke on a counter attack, Sinnott ran at goal only to have his shot saved brilliantly by Branagan.

A late, late corner was awarded to The Magpies, and this was one that Branagan wanted to contest.  The ball was whipped in, and fell for the Chorley shot stopper.  He jumped acrobatically for it, but the ball was headed over the bar.  A second corner in as many minutes was awarded our way and in a last manoeuvre, Branagan tried his luck once again, but his shot went wide of the goal.

And so the final whistle blew.  Celebrating Halifax fans invaded the pitch in celebration while the Chorley contingent sang and applauded the squad who have battled resolutely all season to get to this point.  A brilliantly fought contest and one which must give us hope that we will be back contesting promotion next season.

Starting XI: Ritchis Branagan, Matt Challoner, Adam Blakeman, Andy Teague, Scott Leather, Stephen Jordan, Josh O'Keefe, Dale Whitham, Marcus Carver, Jack Sampson, Jake Cottrell

Subs: Jason Walker (O'Keefe), Will Beesley, Paul Jarvis, Adam Roscoe (Whitham), Kieran Charnock (Jordan)

Att: 7920, with 1941 supporters from Chorley

Goals: Kevin Roberts (46), ADAM BLAKEMAN (60), Scott Garner (100) Men, Women and Children of the Match...  The Chorley Travelling Army!

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Wednesday February 28th
@ Lancashire FA Head Quarters
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Saturday February 24th

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