Chester FC bosses Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson have told fans they are “bursting with pride” despite their side’s spirited fightback against Altrincham ultimately falling short.
Phil Parkinson’s Alty looked like they were cruising to a National League North semi-final at York City on Saturday through Josh Hancock’s opener and an Elliott Durrell brace before George Glendon and Matty Hughes hit back to leave them hanging on.
The behind-closed-doors clash at Moss Lane saw the Blues rally with ten men after a controversial penalty and a red card for John Johnston.
The encounter was only made possible after fans raised £100,000 in recent weeks for next season and to cover the extra costs to comply with the National League’s Covid-19 protocols and testing.
? The lads had a right go yesterday.
? Attentions turn to 20/21. Attentions turn to #BoostTheBudget. We must keep pushing on!
— Chester FC (@ChesterFC) July 20, 2020
Morley told CheshireLive: “I don’t want a pat on the back and to be told we were unlucky. I don’t agree with second best and I won’t celebrate second best but the thing for me is when you go in there and you have got grown men in tears you can’t question the desire.
“We’ve been beat and whether we get beat 6-1 or 1-0 we’ve been beat and we’re out of the play-offs. But for me and him [co-manaer Johnson] we believe we are going in the right direction and we’ve got a platform we can build on.
“We’re bursting with pride. We’re all here together, we covered every blade of grass and every 50/50 we were stronger but all of a sudden it’s 2-0 and then 3-0. But we found a way to get back into the game.”
“At 3-0 god knows what they were calling us (at home), I’d hate to be a fly on the wall, but after that last 20 minutes I’m sure they were bursting with pride.
The eliminator was streamed live on BT Sports for fans and Morley added: “I was thinking what are the supporters thinking at home, there must have been a right buzz around the houses, ‘they’re not so bad after all, they’re having a right good go here’.
“I’m emotional at the moment and I’m really disappointed but I’m quite sure people will support the fact that we’ll be here next season. You come out of the changing room and you’ve got grown men in tears.
“You don’t want to be bitter but the game should finish 10 v 10. But I’m a very proud man that we were 3-0 and had them begging [for the game to end]. That’s got to be the sign of a good side, surely.”
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