Market Drayton Town FC 1 Chasetown FC 0

The lack of a killer instinct in front of goal proved Chasetown’s downfall as they lost out 1-0 at Market Drayton Town.

The Scholars were on top throughout in midfield with some accomplished positional play, but former Chasetown man Duncan Horler’s deflected second half free kick was the deciding factor.

Chasetown started brightly with a long ball from the left in the fourth minute almost finding Danny Smith but home keeper Andy Spooner got there first, while Gary Birch then burst through the middle but the flag was up for offside.

Martyn Davies and Jamie Haynes then set up a nice move down the left but the latter’s cross failed to find a forward in the box, before a further rally saw Nicky Porter force Ryan Price into a fine diving save and skipper Richard Teesdale cleared the resultant corner.

Price was then caught out of his ground on 16 minutes and Horler tried a long range shot which bounced wide of the far post, but the Scholars fought back as Ben Steane hooked the ball back to Smith whose shot was saved.

The Scholars continued to push as hard as they could, but the finishing touch could not be found. Birch looked certain to score in the 40th minute as he rounded keeper Spooner, but Grant Goodhead was somehow able to hack the ball off the line for a corner.

Tom Ward then beat Price but his left-footed shot looped over the bar, and the latter made two further saves as a close-run half ended scoreless.

The hosts made a lively start to the second half which saw the pace slowed a little by the onset of a brief period of drizzle, and still Chasetown were unable to find the target.

Smith headed wide of the far post from a Steane cross on 58 minutes and Birch then had the ball in the net under pressure, but again the offside flag denied Saturday’s double scorer.

John Branch then helped the Scholars survive a scare as he somehow cleared a cross at the far post, but Market Drayton scored the only goal of the game in the 75th minute when Horler’s free kick was deflected in off Dave Egan in the Chasetown wall.

The visitors tried to fight back, Smith going close with a header from a well-placed cross, and thereafter the game became more undisciplined. Batchelor and Birch were next to go close, but Spooner and Goodhead were on hand to counter.

Craig Milligan then set up Steane nicely on the left but the midfielder fired inches over the bar, with Milligan doing likewise in the closing moments, but frustratingly still the target could not be achieved.

Chasetown assistant manager Andy Turner said:

“We had the desire and the togetherness to win tonight, but just didn’t have the finishing ability.”

The side now turns its attention to the first FA Trophy tie of the season, which takes place at Lincoln United on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Market Drayton: Spooner, Hodgkiss, Griffiths, Haynes, McMullen, Goodhead, Porter, Horler (c), Ward, Davies, Humphreys. Subs: Bowyer, Beech, Rogers (Haynes 67), Biddle, Howells.
Chasetown: Price, J Branch, M Branch, Miller, Thomas, Teesdale (c), Steane, Egan, Birch, D Smith, Batchelor. Subs: Milligan (M Branch 80), Holland, Horton, Bragoli, Turner.