FC Halifax Town v Chorley: Jansen proud of his players’ efforts in reaching final

Matt Jansen. Photo: David Hurst
Matt Jansen. Photo: David Hurst

Chorley boss Matt Jansen admits his team has punched above its weight by reaching the play-off final - but says hard work has been the key to their success.

The Magpies finished in the final play-off spot in the National League North before knocking out Kidderminster in their semi-final.

Only Stockport scored fewer goals than Chorley in the top half of the table this season, but only Stockport and Fylde lost fewer league games.

“I’ve been involved at this level for a few years now and the league is as tough as it’s ever been,” Jansen said. “There are more full-time teams and more money in it than ever before. It’s as rich as it’s ever been.

“For us, on our budget, it’s a fantastic achievement to reach the play-off final. The lads have done fantastically well and punched well above their weight.

“It’s down to our team spirit, our fight and our togetherness. They’re a good bunch, they all get on with each other and it’s gone from there.

“The work ethic is great and that’s got us to where we are.”

Jansen is unconvinced about the importance of home advantage for the final, and is determined his side produce a performance to be proud of on the day.

“The opposition have home advantage again but we had it in the first-leg against Kidderminster and they won, then they had it in the second-leg and we won, so it can go either way,” said the former Blackburn Rovers striker. “It can put extra pressure on the home team.

“We’ve achieved so much and it would be such a shame not to go there and give a good account of ourselves.

“It’ll be nervy, tense, and it’ll be a good atmosphere.

“All I’m asking of my players is to give it all they’ve got, and I know they will. They will fight for everything and throw their bodies on the line.”

Jansen knows the scale of the task against a Halifax team who have won four of their last five games and only lost once in their last 11 matches.

“They’re a strong team with a good budget and an experienced manager,” he said.

“Hopefully they have an off day and we don’t.

“If you don’t turn up and play to your best, anyone can beat anyone in this league.

“We just have to concentrate on ourselves, but we’re good enough to beat anyone on our day.”

Chorley produced a shock result when they overturned a first-leg 1-0 defeat at home to Kidderminster by winning 2-0 in the return game.

“People counted us out but we knew we weren’t out of it,” Jansen added.

“The game at our place could have gone either way. We dominated in the second-half and they scored a worldie goal from 30 yards into the top corner.

“We knew we only needed one goal in the second-leg and it was game on. We got an early goal, sat in and hit them on the counter. They threw a lot at us in the second-half but we weathered it and got the second goal at a great time, with not long remaining.

“There was nine minutes of added time so I was screaming at the ref to blow his whistle.

“Kidderminster have got a fantastic home record this season so that made the achievement extra special.”