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The last day of the season is often where dreams are realised in football – but the occasion can also be nightmarish for those fans not as fortunate.
Just ask supporters at Chorley, who looked all set to take the top seed in the National League North play-off quarter-finals with just three minutes of the season to go, leading 3-2 at Gloucester City.
But two quick-fire goals from their opponents ended Chorley's season and sent them plummeting down the table. And, to rub salt into the wounds, Gloucester advanced to the post-season playoffs as they somehow snuck into seventh spot.
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AFC Fylde took the only automatic promotion place by winning the league on the final day, while King's Lynn Town and Chester were the only other names who kept it competitive at the top. But a remarkable race for the play-offs saw the teams between fourth and 13th separated by just four points as the normal season came to a close.
Disaster struck early for Chorley when Michael Dada-Anite put Gloucester ahead on the half-hour mark, but the promotion pilgrimage appeared saved when Marco Rus, Mike Calveley and Billy Whitehouse each netted to give the guests a commanding lead. The Lancashire outfit was still on track to make the play-offs despite Matthew Barnes-Homer scoring twice in the last 15 minutes of normal time.
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Temitope Obadeyi's 93rd-minute winner proved to be the straw that broke Chorley's hopes for a bounce-back to the National League, however. And fans were quick to show their displeasure after a season-defining defeat.
"Awful, 3-1 up to lose 4-3," replied one enraged supporter to an Instagram post showing Chorley had the majority of attempts on goal. "Bottlejobs isn't the word."
Another riled-up fan referred to the club as 'Bottlers FC' given the extent of their collapse. Even a point at Gloucester would have been enough for Chorley to take the final play-off place ahead of the Tigers, who went the opposite direction and rose from 12th to seventh in less time than it takes to make a Pot Noodle.
Kidderminster Harriers also made a last-day jump into the promotion picture and finish sixth thanks to a 3-0 home win over Kettering Town.
Buxton dropped out of the play-off chase following a 4-0 hammering at Chester, while Scarborough Athletic finished just behind Gloucester on goal difference, with a 3-3 draw at home to lowly Banbury not enough to retain their place among the top seven.
The Seadogs' near miss is arguably more heartbreaking than Chorley's given they spent so much of the campaign in the play-off places and ended up on the outskirts by just two goals.
Don't try tell that to a Chorley fan, however, with the reality of an eight-place swing in a matter of minutes unlikely to have set in just yet.
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