Chasetown FC 0 Belper Town FC 1

Chasetown FC’s first home game for over a month saw Belper Town FC prove too strong in the second half.

With few chances emerging in the cold weather neither side prevailed early on, but Scholars boss Charlie Blakemore admitted that the Nailers had the better of their hosts over the second period.

With Reece Styche having departed on loan to Blue Square side Forest Green Rovers a hole seemed to have appeared in the Chasetown attack at times, but home debutants Gary Hay and Ramone Stephens did their best to fill it.

The visitors had the first attack of the game through the centre but Lee Stevenson fired over the top, before the latter went close again as he headed Michael Harcourt’s cross wide of the post.

Belper had certainly had the better of the opening minutes, but the Chasetown support was in full voice after such a long gap and Ben Steane had their first chance, firing over having cut in from the left on ten minutes.

Home skipper Richard Teesdale was in place at the far post to stop Ollie Ryan’s run from the left on 16 minutes, and the sides continued to cancel each other out in midfield with Gary Birch leading a couple of attempted Scholars breakthroughs.

The Nailers fought back, Chris Slater blocking Stevenson’s shot on 28 minutes and thereafter the end to end play continued to flow.  In the closing minutes of the half a Gavin Saunders free kick was headed goalwards by Teesdale but Nailers keeper Lawrence Matthewson was on hand to gather.

Birch’s cross as the second half began was collected by Matthewson, while new Belper signing Jon Froggatt was the first to go close for the visitors as he fired over.

The end to end play continued but chances were fewer, Stephens having the best opportunity for the Scholars as he went close at the near post on the hour mark, and the former Rushall man sent a piercing low shot in three minutes later but the ball rolled inches wide.

Ben Steane just failed to get his head to Danny Smith’s cross on 69 minutes, and four minutes later the visitors were ahead as Stevenson found space on the left to pick up a cross and slot it cleanly past Ryan Price in the Chasetown goal.

Chasetown fought back and with ten minutes on the clock were desperately unlucky not to equalise.  Teesdale’s initial shot bounced back off the post and Steane’s right-footed follow-up crashed off the crossbar.

In the last minute Duncan Horler dived to meet a cross but just failed to get his head to it at the near post, and the Scholars were condemned to defeat although with Kidsgrove Athletic suffering defeat to Witton Albion, Chasetown stay top of the division on goal difference.

The Scholars will look to pull away at the top as they take on Cammell Laird on Saturday (January 30th), 3pm kick-off.

Chasetown: Price, J Branch, Milligan, Slater, Saunders, Teesdale (c), Steane, Egan, Birch, Hay, Stephens.  Subs: Smith (Birch 64), Horler (Stephens 64), Thomas, Miller (Milligan 72), Embrey.
Belper: Matthewson, Colliver (c), Adams, Telling, Harcourt, Haigh, Naylor, Stevenson, Ryan, Froggatt, Hall.  Subs: Walker (Hall 74), Mirfin (Stevenson 84), Fedorenko (Ryan 90), Hindley, Carney.