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a.e.t., Chorley won 3-1 on penalties
Vanarama National League North semi-final play-off match
played on Sunday, 5 May 2019, at 3pm

Having beaten Blyth Spartans last Wednesday by netting seven successive penalties in the shoot-out, as well as one in normal play, spot-kicks proved Altrincham's undoing at Chorley.

Altrincham had already lost talismanic striker Jordan Hulme to injury early in the second half only to take a 68th minute lead when Hancock scored impressively after a good move on the right. But, just five minutes later, Hancock, Alty's leading goalscorer in the league, was sent off for a tackle in a challenge on Carver in midfield. Referee Swallow had also been the man who sent off Jordan Hulme against Stockport earlier this season.

So Alty's two top scorers were now out of the game for differing reasons. The ten men valiantly held their lead till the 83rd minute when Wilson tapped home at the back post after Meppen-Walter had nodded on Blakeman's long throw from the right.

Altrincham's ten men played very well in the half hour of added time to reach a second penalty shoot-out of the week.

First up in the shoot-out, Alex Newby saw his effort saved by Thompson before Moult likewise saw Urwin stop his penalty. Next, Blakeman blasted his penalty over the bar before Densmore also failed to beat Urwin. After four misses in total, Meppen-Walter at last was successful for the hosts from the spot. James Poole then incredibly made it three missed Alty spot-kicks in succession as Urwin again saved the ball.

Next, former Alty loanee Elliot Newby made it 2-0 for Chorley before substitute Max Harrop converted his kick to make it 2-1. When Wilson beat Thompson to make it 3-1, it was all over in anti-climactic fashion for Altrincham.

Nevertheless newly promoted Altrincham had done superbly to get so close to the final and, had they retained eleven men on the pitch, they might well have done so.


  • 68 mins: Josh HANCOCK (Chorley 0 ALTRINCHAM 1)
  • 87 mins: Josh WILSON (Chorley 1 ALTRINCHAM 1)

REFEREE: Elliot Swallow

Altrincham were unchanged but Chorley had returned Challoner, Teague and Wilson to their starting eleven.


CHORLEY (Black and white shirts, black shorts and socks with red trim.): 1. Matt Urwin, 2. Matt Challoner, 3. Adam Blakeman, 4. Andy Teague (c), 5. Scott Leather, 6. Courtney Meppen-Walter, 7. Alex Newby, 8. Jake Cottrell, 9. Marcus Carver, 10. Josh Wilson, 11. Elliot Newby. Subs: 12. Louis Almond, 14. Josh O'Keefe, 15. Adam Anson, 16, Shaun Tuton, 17. Stephen Jordan.

ALTRINCHAM (Purple shirts and shorts, white socks): 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Shaun Densmore, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Sean Williams, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Yusufi Ceesay. Subs: 12. Max Harrop, 14. James Poole, 15. Simon Richman, 16. Ben Harrison, 20. Elliot Wynne.


Less than four days after Altrincham had exerted plenty of energy in beating Blyth Spartans, after extra time and following a 14-kick penalty shoot-out, they arrived to face second-placed Chorley who had had a week's rest. The Magpies had won the encounter at Victory Park in the regular season, 4-1. At stake today was a place in the promotion play-off final against either Brackley Town or Spennymoor Town on 12 May.

Mike Garnett's records told us the historical record of Altrincham against Chorley:

  • At home: P16-W11-D3-L2-F50-A21
  • Away: P17-W3-D5-L9-F17-A25
  • All: P33-W14-D8-L11-F67-A46


Altrincham kicked off towards the away end and, within 80 seconds, the ball needed changing! The opening stages were fairly uneventful before a 20 yarder from Carver earned the match's first corner (10 mins). Wilson then threatened as he got past Hannigan but Hampson covered well.

Altrincham now got the upper hand winning three corners in as many minutes with Johnston looking a threat on the Alty right. Referee Swallow was making some questionable decisions as he awarded a Chorley goalkick for a clear Alty corner before ignoring a blatant handball by Chorley. When Jones was caught late by Cottrell, he deemed a lecture sufficient pounishment for the foul (20 mins).

Altrincham were now having the better of the game but Hulme stayed down after a robust challenge and play continued with him prostrate near half way. As, belatedly, he got to his feet the ball came towards him and he got to it only to be bowled over by Carver. Hulme needed protracted treatment and the injury was later to prevent his competing the game (26 mins). As he limped off to the touchline, curiously his neck chain was removed by a member of the coaching staff!

The best chance of the game from open play came in the 31st minute. Ceesay, Densmore, and Johnston had all been involved before Hulme cleverly back-heeled the ball to Hancock. From 12 yards the Alty leading scorer blasted over the bar for what was a bad miss (31 mins).

Ceesay was then caught late by Teague who again escaped with a lecture and another Cottrell foul soon afterwards, likewise, did not induce a booking. As half time approached the sides were cancelling each other out with the home side showing a clear lead in the concession of freekicks.

Half-Time: CHORLEY 0

Before the start of the second half Jordan Hulme came out to do some ominous fitness checks. Despite hobbling, he started the second half. Chorley almost immediately threatened as an Elliot Newby shot came back of the post. Thompson was unable to hold the rebound before a melee ensued from which the Alty goal emerged intact.

At the other end, Johnston cut in from the right before his shot, with the outside of the foot, drifted across goal. With the visiting fans continuing to out-sing the locals, Chorley won a corner before they again went close in a goalmouth skirmish.

On 54 minutes Hulme had to go off, being replaced by Poole with Ceesay assigned an unaccustomed striker's role.

Next, Elliot Newby forced a good save from Thompson from right of goal. But then a move of multiple passes from Altrincham got them a toe-hold in the second half. Now Ceesay was upended by a foul from Challoner which was no worse than many that the ref had given in the first half, but for some reason this time the Chorley defender was booked (59 mins).

On 66 minutes Richman came on for Williams in the Alty engine room. Just before this, Poole had fired well over the bar and just afterwards, Alty scored. Jones, Densmore, Poole and Hancock had all been involved before Hancock exchanged passes with Densmore and fired home into the far corner with a low shot from right-centre. So Alty had the lead (68 mins).

But, less then five minutes later, Hancock fouled Carver near the halfway line and after a "crowd scene" engineered by protesting Chorley players, referee Swallow produced a red card to dismiss Hancock. So Alty were not only down to ten men but had their two leading scorers off the pitch (73 mins).

Two minutes later Chorley took off Elliot Newby and brought on Almond, with Harrison coming on to shore up the back line in place of Johnston a minute later (76 mins).

On 80 minutes Josh O'Keefe replaced Challoner for Chorley as the visitors got penned back with their opponents having a man adavantage. The pressure told as a long throw from Blakeman on the right was nodded on by Meppen-Walter for Wilson to tap in at the back post to level the socres (83 mins).

O'Keffe then took out Densmore but was only lectured before a Meppen-Walter long shot was blocked. Altrincham dfended manfully and got through four added minutes to secure extra-time.

After 90 Minutes: CHORLEY 1

Chorley continued to fail to capitalise on their additional man and Altrincham enjoyed a fairly comfortable first period of added time. Indeed Poole won his side a corner before Harrison fired wide (93 mins). When Teague blatantly fouled Poole and was rightly penalised, he stamped his foot petulantly but Mr Swallow took no further action for the foul and dissent (94 mins).

Next, midfielder Harrop replaced winger Ceesay up front for Alty (95 mins). There was then a farcical spell as Chorley three times in succession took the same freekick with a rolling ball before getting it right.

After a Chorley corner Leather fired narrowly wide (102 mins) and Wilson then shot at Thompson (103 mins). Just before half-time in added time Thompson produced a fine flying save from an O'Keefe header but the score remained 1-1 at the extra-time interval.

On 109 minutes Carver limped off as Tuton replaced him. ALty defended a couple of corners as Thompson gave a masterclass in time management for which he was eventually booked.

In the 113th minute Blakeman was booked before Wilson fired wide. But Altrincham were defending impressively, with Poole doing well to win a couple of throw ins upfield. So, penalty kicks arrived with Alty in hopeful mood after their superb seven spot-kicks on Wednesday night.

After 120 Minutes: CHORLEY 1

But it all went wrong for Altrincham in the shoot-out despite Chorley missing their first two penalties.
  1. Alex Newby had his effort saved by Thompson, 0-0
  2. Likewise Jake Moult had his kick saved by Urwin, 0-0
  3. Next, Blakeman blasted his effort well over the bar, 0-0
  4. And Densmore made it four misses in the shoot-out as Urwin stopped his shot, 0-0
  5. Meppen-Walter broke the duck with a pwoerful shot, 1-0
  6. Incredibly, Poole now made it three misses as Urwin saved again, 1-0
  7. Alex Newby sent Thompson the worng way, 2-0
  8. Max Harrop broke Alty's duck by netting, 2-1
  9. Josh Wilson clinched the tie as he scored despite Thompson going the right way, 3-1

Final Score: CHORLEY 1
Chorley win 3-1 on penalties