Chasetown FC Reserves 2 Boldmere St Michaels Reserves 3

Holders Chasetown Reserves will go into the second leg of their Midland Combination League Challenge Bowl Semi-Final only one goal behind – but it could have been so much worse after their first leg encounter against Boldmere St Michaels.

The game began in frantic fashion with some strong challenges as both sides tried to impose themselves on the game early on.

Despite having slightly more of the play Boldmere’s forward line of Thompson and Morton were stifled by a resolute Chasetown defence of Ivors, Lewis, Hulin and Farmer.

Daniel O’Callaghan’s 25 yard free-kick which went high and over the visitors bar was the only real chance of note in the opening 25 minutes in this tight affair.

It was O’Callaghan again who ran at the Boldmere defence and cut in from the right after beating his man he shot narrowly wide from just inside the penalty area.

With five minutes of the first half remaining, Seabourne broke down the left hand side and his fierce driven cross was converted into his own net by the unfortunate Chris Lewis to give the visitors the a narrow advantage at the break.

The second half began with a change of official – a pre-match injury to original referee John Woodhouse saw local official Mark Fenton take over as assistant referee at short notice.

On 47 minutes Boldmere’s Morton broke from his own half and his weighted pass put Thompson in, however Chasetown keeper John Green pushed the forward’s effort round the post.

A deep free-kick into the Boldmere area then fell to defender Chris Lewis but the defender’s shot went high over the bar from 10 yards.

Jamie Hawkins then tried his luck from 25 yards but his effort failed to trouble Boldmere keeper Fenny.

Just after the hour mark, Tom Ivors was harshly adjudged to have pushed Boldmere forward Morton in the penalty area with referee Magness pointing to the spot to the suprise of both teams. Seabourne stepped up and calmly placed the spot kick into the bottom right hand corner of the net under the diving Green to give the visitors a commanding 2-0 lead.

A fine build up on the Scholars left saw Daniel O’Callaghan pass inside to Jack Scandrett, but the striker’s low drive was comfortably collected by keeper Fenny as the hosts went in search of a way back into the game.

Chasetown’s luck seemed to have well and truly run out when on 68 minutes a 25 yard curling free-kick struck the visitor’s upright and out to safety with the stationary Fenny well beaten.

On 83 minutes Seabourne broke down the Chasetown right and his cut back from the byline found the un-marked Weller at the far post, but the midfielder should have done better when shooting wide from close range.

However, a minute later Boldmere captain Brown stooped low down to head home Thompson’s cross from the left to make it 3-0.

The third goal only seemed to galvanise the home side to try and keep themselves in this two legged tie and with five minutes remaining substitute Chad Degville-Cross volleyed in at the far post, ricocheting of a Boldmere defender before crossing the line.

The Scholars pulled another goal back at the death to give themselves hope for the second leg. A searching ball into the Boldmere area was cleared to the edge of the penalty area where Lee Smith was waiting to powerfully strike the ball over Fenny and in off the underside of the bar and give the Scholars a real chance of overturning the deficit in the second leg in a fortnight.

The return leg on February 20 will be Chasetown Reserves’ next action. Kick off will be at 3pm.

Chasetown: Green, Ivors, Farmer, Hulin, Lewis, Billingham, Daniel O’Callaghan, Hawkins (Capt), Scandrett, Welnitschuk, Rock.  Subs: Smith (Billingham 71), Westwood, Degville-Cross (Welnitschuk 62), Wright (Ivors 71), Kent.

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