Cammell Laird FC 0 Chasetown FC 2

Chasetown were on top throughout en route to a fine 2-0 success at Cammell Laird.

The visitors had the ball in the net as early as the fourth minute. Home keeper Kieran Burnett punched a Mark Branch corner clear after Richard Batchelor’s header had been blocked by the defence, before Scholars captain Dave Egan slammed the ball in from outside the area but referee Clayton disallowed the goal for a foul on the keeper.

Reece Styche and Gary Birch were combining well in attack as Chasetown dominated, with the former twice blocked as he was about to shoot, but on 25 minutes the Scholars injury jinx struck yet again as the former Shepshed striker left the field with an ankle injury and was replaced by debutant Gavin Saunders.

Egan moved up front to partner Birch and was straight into the attack, being brought down by Burnett on the corner of the 18-yard box with the goalkeeper receiving a yellow card.

The Chasetown wall blocked a Richie Foulkes free kick on 34 minutes, and the Scholars dominance continued with Ryan Price having very little to do in goal.

Gary Birch

Gary Birch

Two minutes into the second half the deadlock was broken as Birch continued his recent good form, heading in Ben Steane’s corner at the far post to put the Scholars ahead.

After falling behind the hosts switched to playing the long ball game, and the visitors were forced to defend accordingly. Liam Loughlin and Anthony Gardner both shot straight at Price, while the Scholars keeper pushed away a further effort from Foulkes and Ian Cooke popped up unmarked but hit the crossbar.

The visitors then created several chances to double their lead, but Batchelor was denied by the woodwork and Birch twice failed to beat Burnett as he continued to impress. Price then made a fine save to deny Foulkes from a free kick, and then sent a follow-up shot from the Laird attack over the bar before Loughlin was shown the red card for a push on Batchelor.

Danny Bragoli replaced Steane allowing Egan to move back into midfield, and the substitute was straight into action with a lob clearing the crossbar, before in the final minute Birch played him through for a right-footed shot which Burnett got his hands to, but the ball nestled in the far corner of the net to seal the points for the Scholars.

It’s a League Cup tie against local rivals Rushall Olympic on Tuesday night (7.45pm kick-off) before the Scholars make the journey to Lancaster City in the FA Trophy next Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Cammell Laird: Burnett, Gardner, Adamson, Loughlin, Atherton (c), Jones, Courtenay, Foulkes, Cooke, Thompson, Corrigan. Subs: Tuck (Corrigan 62), Young (Thompson 76), Collins, Bigland, Rendell.
Chasetown: Price, J Branch, M Branch, Miller, Thomas, Milligan, Steane, Egan (c), Birch, Styche, Batchelor. Subs: Bragoli (Steane 85), Saunders (Styche 25), Holland, R Williams, Turner. Goals: Birch 47, Bragoli 90.

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