April 24, 2023

GUEST ARTICLE: Chorley keep play-off hopes alive after late penalty drama

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Harry Whitfield, a Sports Journalism student at UCLAN gives his account of the Petereborough Sports fixture as well as a small interview with MagpiesTrust Chair, Julian.

A 90th minute penalty from Jack Sampson saw Chorley defeat Peterborough Sports 1-0 to give them the three points they needed to stay in the hunt for a play-off spot.

The National League North play-off spots were closer than ever going into the penultimate game week as three points separated 13th and 5th in the table.

The victory means Chorley are now one point off the final play-off spot going into their last game of the season against fellow play-off chasers Gloucester City.

Chorley goalkeeper Matt Urwin said after the game that he was proud of his side efforts: “Well they had a couple of chances on the counter attack, they ended up fluffing their lines a couple of times but on other day they might go in.

“However, the lads kept plugging away, kept going and kept putting the pressure on them and eventually we got that penalty to give us the three points.”

Urwin, pictured left, joined the club in 2017 following a move from Fleetwood Town.

The Magpies needed results elsewhere to go their way and three points at the Victory Park, just to be within a chance of securing a play-off spot.

With the stakes so high, the nerves started to creep out on the pitch as Chorley had chance after chance but couldn’t test Peterborough Sports goalkeeper Pete Crook.

The visitors were dangerous on the counter attack and a resulted corner almost gave them the lead in 37th minute as a deflected header was clawed out from under the bar by Urwin.

As the game went on, the challenges started to fly in as referee Darius Bradley handed out seven yellow cards and 35 fouls between the two sides.

Substitute Will Tomlinson added the spark that Chorley needed in the second half, driving the midfield forward and picking passes through The Turbines defence.

His hard work paid off when Sports’ player/manager Michael Gash tripped Tomlinson in the box and Bradley pointed to the spot.

Sampson stepped up and fired it into the top corner giving Chorley the lead in the 90th minute and the victory.

Chair of the Magpies Trust, Julian Vass, is confident that Chorley can make the playoffs: “We do need results elsewhere to favour us but there is no point dwelling on what we cannot control.

“We’ve always been in and around the play-off places since arriving in the National League North so missing out on participating in them would be quite gutting.

“Unless it’s absolutely mathematically impossible then there is always hope.”

With the difference between finishing in the play-offs and finishing mid table being so close and so important in terms of financial benefits for the clubs in the league, it makes the final day as tense as it has ever been in it’s history.

Julian Vass, pictured right, has been a regular visitor to Victory Park since around 2002/03

“It would have been beneficial if we could have finished in 5th place then we would have had another home game giving the club a much needed financial boost.

“The community usually comes out in force for these events too and the attendance would have showed.’’

Chorley fans will be keeping their eye on Curzon Ashton’s game in hand against second place AFC Fylde hoping they drop points.

They will also need victory against Gloucester and Buxton to drop points against third place Chester.

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