Buxton 0 Chorley 2
GARRY Flitcroft praised the mental strength of his players after Chorley lifted the Evo Stik League Premier Division title in front of more than 1,000 ecstatic travelling Magpies fans.
Two goals from Josh Hine sealed victory on a nervy afternoon at Silverlands Stadium.
It was Chorley’s first league title in 26 years and they will now compete in Conference North next season – just two divisions below the Football League.
It’s a second promotion for the Magpies in Flitcroft’s inspiring four-seasons’ tenure but he was quick to heap the credit on his players.
“It’s been a long, tough season and we’ve been up there to be shot at most of the time,” he said. “But the mental strength of these players has been tremendous, they’ve given me everything match after match and I’m immensely proud of each and every one of them.
“I’m so pleased for everyone from the chairman and the directors downwards who have worked so hard for this superb achievement.” In an atmosphere crackling with tension, Chorley took some time to settle against a spirited Buxton but once Hine had bagged the first of his match-winning brace three minutes before half-time, the prize always seemed in safe keeping.
Nevertheless, there were only two minutes to go when Hine netted his 23rd of the season to rubber-stamp Chorley’s ticket to the Conference North next season.
With sole challengers FC United winning 3-0 in the Midlands at Barwell, this was a match the Magpies simply had to win.
And their opener came on 42 minutes when Hine scored from 10 yards after good work from Paul Jarvis and James Dean.
Victory was assured in the 88th minute when substitute Jack Dorney capitalised on a miskick in midfield to race away before squaring to Hine who gleefully fired into an empty net, triggering a joyous pitch-invasion from Chorley fans massed behind the goal.
The travelling support who made up two-thirds of a crowd of 1,483 had backed their favourites ceaselessly. Chorley duly held their nerve when it mattered and though FC United were able to match the Magpies’ final haul of 29 wins they could not close the one-point gap which carried Flitcroft’s doughty troops deservedly to the title.