Rushall Olympic FC 1 Chasetown FC 4

Another excellent attacking display form Chasetown saw them dispatch local rivals Rushall Olympic 4-1 in the first round of the Staffordshire Senior Cup.

Reece Styche. Pic: Dave Birt

Reece Styche. Pic: Dave Birt

The side displayed superb committed play throughout the 90 minutes, continuing their form from Saturday’s League win at Kidsgrove Athletic, with Reece Styche the star man of the night with two goals and Ben Steane and Dave Egan also on target.

Chasetown won a free kick on the edge of the Rushall area in the opening minute but welcome returnee Nick Hawkins’ effort hit the Pics wall and Steane’s subsequent cross was cleared.

The Scholars’ bright start continued and in the seventh minute Steane’s perfectly judged free kick out on the left flew past everyone in the area into the far corner of the net to put them ahead.  The goal was reminiscent of Mark Branch’s famous FA Cup equaliser at Port Vale, and was a perfect way for Steane to celebrate his birthday.

Styche came close to doubling the lead on 14 minutes, his header from Craig Milligan’s corner going inches wide of the near post, before Rushall found their first break of a Chasetown-dominated game, Ramone Stephens charging in from the right but the offside flag was up.

The Scholars relentlessly produced one attack after another, a Steane corner headed over the bar on 22 minutes, but the hosts were able to enjoy the occasional foray into Ryan Price’s midst, Stephens picking up a loose ball and blasting narrowly high and wide on 28 minutes.

One minute later, the hosts were level against the run of play when former Scholar Harry Harris found space in the centre and fired a straightforward right-footed shot past Price.

The visitors were clearly unfazed by the goal and skipper Egan came close to restoring their lead but Gemmell grabbed his header from another Steane corner, before Egan had more hard luck on 40 minutes as he hit the crossbar with Gemmell beaten.

Rushall looked more determined as the second half began and enjoyed more possession accordingly, but Chasetown restored their advantage on 55 minutes when Reece Styche played through Egan and this time the captain found the target, firing the ball over Gemmell.

Styche’s pace was increasing all the time down the left and it took some sterling efforts by ex-Scholar Adie Smith to contain his attacks, while Steane tried for a repeat of his earlier goal but this time his free kick flew to Gemmell.

Chasetown were looking stronger all the time through the centre, and it was a good move on 73 minutes that allowed Styche through to beat a defender and then coolly round Gemmell to slot home the visitors’ third.

Rushall’s possession rate was falling all the time as Chasetown asserted themselves in all areas, and with five minutes on the clock Milligan squared the ball to Duncan Horler who played Styche in once again on the right.  The striker charged forward once again, and though he had the option to cross to Gary Birch, he went for the target with a low right-footed shot which nestled in the far corner of the net for a superb goal – his ninth in as many starts for the Scholars.

Ross Miller and Alex Titchiner were introduced for the final minutes, and the former had chance to speed down the right and set up Titchiner whose attempt was cleared following a scramble with the Rushall defence.

Chasetown will travel to Stafford Rangers in the next round of the Cup, but they will now switch their focus to Saturday’s home League match against Goole AFC (3pm kick-off).

Rushall Olympic: Gemmell, Starkey, Jackson, Preston (c), A Smith, Jevons, Stevenson, Lowe, May, Harris, Stephens.  Subs: Maguire (Lowe 75), Fitzpatrick, Beckett, Robinson, Kitching.
Chasetown: Price, J Branch, Milligan, Slater, Hawkins, Marshall, Steane, Egan (c), Birch, Styche, Horler.  Subs: D Smith, Titchiner (Birch 86), M Branch, Saunders, Miller (Steane 86).