Chasetown FC 2 Rushall Olympic FC 1

A lively cup tie with plenty of end-to-end action saw Chasetown FC progress to the next round of the Unibond President’s Cup with a 2-1 success over Rushall Olympic FC.

Despite the recent injury problems, the Scholars looked strong throughout and did not lift off the throttle at any stage against their local rivals, looking better with every kick as the game went on.

A smooth start saw plenty of tight play in the midfield with no clear chances for either side, but the Scholars were dealt a blow when captain Richard Teesdale went off with a recurrence of his ankle injury after only ten minutes and was replaced by Chris Horton. The young first-team debutant certainly proved up to the task of replacing his club skipper.

Rushall’s Scott Stevenson fired over Ryan Price’s bar on 17 minutes, while Mark Branch was forced to work hard down the right on several occasions by Levi Ramsey.

Danny Smith

Danny Smith

Despite more pressure from the visitors it was Chasetown who took the lead on the half-hour against the run of play as Danny Smith dived to head the ball home after Gary Birch flicked on to set him up.

Rushall fought back and on 38 minutes Ramsey charged into the area and seemed certain to score, but Price was able to slow him and his shot trickled wide.

The next attack, however, was successful, as a fine run through midfield was finished by a cracking shot from Kurtis Brathwaite leaving Price with no chance.

The game was now into top gear and a period of pinball in the Rushall area saw shots from Birch and Richard Batchelor blocked as the Scholars knuckled down to the task, and the half ended with the game finely poised.

Smith and Batchelor led the Chasetown attack as the second half got underway, and it was the latter who put them back in front as Ben Steane played through Birch who beat the defence and set up Batchelor to side-foot the ball home.

Rushall skipper Richard Brown halted a Smith attack on 65 minutes while Birch was having a superb game at the front but could not quite beat Chris Gemmell in the visitors’ goal.

Smith tried again on 71 minutes but his lob went inches over the bar, and the positive and flowing play from the Scholars continued with Steane in particular looking lively in midfield, with Rushall restricted more and more as the half progressed.

Birch continued to impress at the front and substitute Danny Bragoli worked with Steane to create chances, and Chasetown held back their opponents for a well-deserved win.

The Scholars now switch their focus to the FA Trophy as they visit Lancaster City on Saturday, kicking off at 3pm.

Chasetown: Price, J Branch, M Branch, Miller, Milligan, Teesdale (c), Steane, Egan, Birch, D Smith, Batchelor. Subs: Bragoli (D Smith 85), Horton (Teesdale 12), R Williams, Scandrett, Vassallo.
Rushall: Gemmell, Starkey, Jackson, Preston, Brown (c), Fitzpatrick, Beckett, Stevenson, Braithwaite, Ramsey, Stephens. Subs: Lowe (Fitzpatrick 62), Jeavons (Beckett 70), May, Maguire, Kitching.

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