Magpies not out of play-off semi-final

Stephen Jordan will be back to boost Chorley
Stephen Jordan will be back to boost Chorley

Chorley boss Matt Jansen has urged his players to keep on believing despite facing an uphill battle to reach the National League North play-off final.

The Magpies suffered a narrow 1-0 loss to Kidderminster Harriers in the semi-final first leg at Victory Park on Wednesday night.

A stunning strike from Arthur Gnahoua in the second half handed Kiddy a crucial 1-0 advantage.

And Jansen’s men head to Aggborough on Sunday afternoon for the second leg with it all to do.

John Eustace’s men finished runners-up in the final league table, giving eventual champions AFC Fylde a run for their money over the closing stages of the campaign.

Ominously, Kiddy go into this weekend’s game boasting the best home record in the league – collecting a whopping 50 points out of a possible 63 in front of their own supporters.

However, Chorley are one of only five teams this season to take at least a point from a trip to the Worcestershire club when they drew 0-0 in August.

And Jansen believes his men will go into the second leg believing they can turn around the deficit. “We will go to Kidderminster on Sunday and put up one hell of a fight I can promise you that,” said Jansen. “This semi-final is still very much on.

“We were down and out at FC United of Manchester. We were 3-0 down at half-time, but we fought back and ended up drawing 3-3.

“We are only 1-0 down against Kidderminster and there are 90 minutes to go.

“There’s no away goals rule I am told, so we will go there, it’s 1-0 at half-time but we have got 90 minutes to adjust that scoreline.

“There’s no pressure on the lads.

“I have said that to them. We have overachieved this season.

“But we want to achieve more. Now that we are here in the play-offs, let’s keep achieving

One boost ahead of the weekend is that Jansen’s players came through the first leg unscathed.

The squad is likely to be boosted by the return of former Manchester City and Burnley defender Stephen Jordan, who has missed the last few weeks with a troublesome groin injury.

Goalkeeper Ritchie Branagan came back into the team on Wednesday after a two-match absence, but striker Jack Sampson serves the final match of a three-match suspension on Sunday.