Brigg Town FC 0 Chasetown FC 1

Gary Birch

Gary Birch

Gary Birch’s second half strike sealed the points for Chasetown FC in a hard-fought and entertaining game at Brigg Town FC.

The victory took the Scholars into second place in the UniBond South table just one point behind Kidsgrove Athletic, despite the loss of striker Reece Styche midway through the first half.

Chasetown defender Chris Slater required lengthy treatment from the very first minute after colliding with the perimeter fence following a clearance, before captain Richard Teesdale headed straight into keeper Jody Barford’s arms from a Craig Milligan free kick.

Styche, Duncan Horler and Ben Steane then enjoyed a rapid succession of chances for the visitors before the Zebras fought back, Scholars keeper Ryan Price having to be alert to punch away Danny Barrett’s cross following a free kick.  Barrett was a danger from set pieces throughout the afternoon, while Oliver Chappell also went close as he fired over the bar on 20 minutes.

Barford then gathered a 25-yard shot from Horler before Chasetown suffered a blow as star striker Styche suffered a foot injury and was replaced by Danny Smith on 37 minutes, but the Scholars did not let it affect them and Steane and John Branch produced some neat play but no-one could provide a finishing touch, the former then seeing a penalty appeal waved away after an apparent push in the box.

After a more determined start Chasetown took the lead three minutes into the second half, when Birch made up for an earlier missed chance by sending a low left-footed drive into the far corner of the net.

The Scholars continued to take the game to their opponents thereafter, looking tougher than before the break, although Barrett continued to be a major headache with some dangerous crosses and free kicks for the Zebras, with Price having to be alert on more than one occasion to punch chances away.

The game flowed from end to end and the Scholars could have doubled their lead in the 72nd minute when Steane’s cross met Smith at the far post but the striker headed wide.

Smith impressed again seven minutes later to beat the offside trap but the Zebras defence was able to block his shot allowing Barford to collect, before home substitute Chris Rodgers charged onto a loose ball 25 yard out and advanced only to drag his shot wide.  Play quickly moved to the other end once again, with a good move by Smith and Gavin Saunders setting up Birch but his shot hit the crossbar.

Chasetown now turn their attention to a second attempt at their Walsall Senior Cup tie against Walsall Wood on Tuesday (December 15), 7.45pm kick-off, following last Tuesday’s postponement.

Brigg: Barford, Hellewell, Barrett, Archer, Spafford, Cochrane (c), Spall, Chappell, Holt, Maxwell, Grimes.  Subs: Pickess, L Smith (Archer 87), Capuano, Rodgers (Maxwell 65), West.
Chasetown: Price, J Branch, Milligan, Slater, Saunders, Teesdale (c), Steane, Egan, Birch, Styche, Horler.  Subs: D Smith (Styche 37), M Branch, Thomas, Westwood, Birt.

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