Chorley 2 AFC Fylde 0
Fylde will continue to ply their trade in Evo-Stik First Division North next season after the home side proved too strong in last night’s play-off final at Victory Park.
A goal in each half by Steve Foster and Jack Dorney secured promotion for Garry Flitcroft’s men.
Foster slotted in the 22nd-minute opener from inside the box following excellent build-up play, and substitute Dorney sealed the victory in style four minutes from time, collecting Tom Ince’s pass and rattling a thunderbolt into the Fylde net from 25 yards.
Fylde were largely lacklustre but they did have several chances to equalise before Dorney’s killer blow.
The kick-off was delayed 15 minutes while the bumper crowd of 2,950 took their places and it was Chorley who made the brighter start, creating several early opportunities.
In only the second minute, Dale Whitham hit the Fylde crossbar with a shot from the edge of the area, then three minutes later Foster had his first chance but his shot was comfortably saved by Lewis Edge.
With eight minutes gone, Whitham tried his luck again from a corner but shot over.
Fylde, who were again without top scorer Tom Cahill but welcomed back Joe Booth after injury, then had a good ten-minute spell in which they began to get into the game.
Matt Mahoney’s shot was blocked in the area on 11 minutes and a header from Glenn Steel went wide three minutes later.
Matt Jansen had a shot for the home side but on 18 minutes Fylde could have taken the lead themselves.
However, Mahoney couldn’t connect properly with an excellent cross from Michael Barnes.
Chorley finally broke the deadlock with a top-drawer move, Ince supplying the final ball for Foster to scored from ten yards.
The rest of the half passed with little incident and it remained 1-0 at half-time.
The second half was much brighter for Fylde, who had the upper hand for a long spell and created several opportunities to equalise.
They forced a series of corners midway through the second half but could not get past the strong home defence.
Barnes’ runs at the defence produced the best opportunitie.
One of these started down the right and took him into the area on 74 minutes. Andy Bell was square with the goal gaping but Barnes’ ball was cut out by the defence.
Nine minutes later, substitute Matt Walwyn looked set for another of his big-occasion goals but his point-blank header, from another Barnes cross, was superbly saved.
Chorley then clinched their premier division spot, when Dorney’s screamer sparked wild celebrations from the home fans behind the goal.
The five minutes of stoppage time weren’t enough for Fylde to prevent the pitch invasion by Chorley fans at the final whistle.
Despite the disappointment, Fylde can reflect on their most successful season ever – their highest league finish and glory in the LFA Trophy – which stands them in good stead to challenge for the title next season.
AFC Fylde: Edge, Stringfellow (D Mahoney 71), Elderton, Doughty, Steel, Kay, Booth, M. Mahoney (Walwyn 57), Townson (Bell 57), Jarvis, Barnes; not used: Lawler, Stevenson.