The final furlong of the season is upon us. Our visit to Chorley represents our last fixture in the Vanarama National League North until we contest the playoffs.
With the Shaymen three points into the playoffs and with Salford and Darlington facing each other on the final day, we go into the trip to Victory Park playing for a high finish which could enable home advantage at a key period in the bid for an immediate National League return.
Opponents Chorley sit in the tightest possible position, outside the playoff places on goal difference to Salford with an inferior ten-goal swing meaning all three points are vital for the hosts to join Billy Heath’s men. Chorley supporter Barry Lock is positive his side can make up the ground…
How do you feel the season has gone for Chorley?
It literally all depends on Saturday. We finished eighth last season so playoffs were simply the next stage, the improvement. If we make the playoffs, it’s gone well. If not, it’ll be really disappointing. But we know we’re still outsiders having to better Salford’s result, and having to watch Stockport who are two points behind us.
What have you enjoyed about the team’s performances this season?
We’ve looked impressive for the most part, our style of play has improved in my opinion – we’re a better side than last year. Bar a few bad results here and there, we’ve been fairly consistent and when we’ve lost a game, we’ve tended to respond well. I like the character the lads have shown.
Which has been your favourite game?
The stand-out for me was a game we didn’t win, but it sure as hell felt like it. It was FC United away, back in February. We were 3-0 down at the break and somehow came back to level the game at 3-3 and take a point. It again shows the character of the team, and you never know – that point could help us into the playoffs by the end of the weekend.
The reverse fixture in January at The Shay finished 2-1 to Halifax…
We were unlucky but I remember we didn’t really take the game to you in the first half. I think that was what lost us the game. We pulled one back with a decent header with about 20 left but couldn’t threaten an equaliser. We’ve not been bad away this season either, but hopefully we have enough at home to get the win we badly need.
Who has been your player of the season?
I have to be clichéd and go for our top scorer, Jason Walker. He’s bagged 14 in the league this season and grabbed a crucial equaliser just before half time at Gloucester last weekend. A draw wasn’t ideal but his goal secured the point. He’s become an established name in non-league and has plenty of league experience too.
Finally, Barry – what is your prediction for Saturday’s big clash?
I’ll be positive and go for a 2-1 Chorley win. I might be sticking my head out but we’ll be giving everything for those points. I’ll go for the same scorers as last week, Walker and Dale Whitham, who scored at your place as well. I’ve heard your boy Dion Charles has done well lately, so I’ll have him down to score for Halifax, but I hope we can avenge January’s result.
Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist