On a night of tension and high drama at Victory Park, Chorley finally booked themselves a long trip to Northamptonshire on Sunday for a play-offs semi-final date with Brackley Town after beating Curzon Ashton 4-2 on penalties after the match ended goalless, writes Mike Neild.

But they were made to go the full distance in a dour goalless scrap by an uncompromising Curzon Ashton, the intense physical battle providing few real goalmouth thrills for a bumper crowd of 2,128.

The visitors looked the more composed side in the first half, fashioning clearer openings than the Magpies who found it difficult to settle into a constructive rhythm. Matt Urwin was the busier of the two keepers, producing an exceptional diving save to keep out an Adam Sinclair rocket from twenty yards. The home stopper was to crown an excellent night’s work with two fine decisive saves in the dramatic penalty shoot-out.

This final cliffhanger would have been unnecessary, if Curzon’s Stefan Mols had accepted a gilt-edged chance to win the tie two minutes from the end of extra time. The otherwise immaculate Mark Ellis lost his footing in midfield, leaving Jimmy Spencer clear down the left channel and he squared the ball to the unmarked Mols who unaccountably lifted his shot over the gaping goal.

That golden chance apart, Curzon had been increasingly under the cosh in the later stages of the game, particularly in extra time when Chorley looked the fitter of the two physically-drained teams. Keeper Josh Ollerenshaw pulled off a terrific save to palm aside Jack Sampson’s goalbound header, while a superb low cross from Adam Blakeman flashed across the goalmouth with no-one quite quick enough to apply the finishing touch.

And so penalties were needed. Chorley’s Jack Hazlehurst and Curzon’s Jordan Richards saw the first two spot-kicks smartly saved before the Magpies gained the advantage. Conversions by Billy Whitehouse, Jack Sampson and Adam Henley put Chorley 3-2 up when Urwin beat out Hayden Campbell’s kick, leaving Kieran Glynn to calmly make it 4-2 and win it for the Magpies, triggering a joyous pitch-invasion by ecstatic home fans massed behind the goal.

CHORLEY : Urwin, Henley, Ellis, Smith, Blakeman, Calveley, Maguire (Horbury, 116), Hazlehurst, Ubaezuonu (Glynn, 66), Sampson, Johnson (Whitehouse, 90). Unused subs. Nolan, Dearnley.