Chasetown FC Reserves 3 Walsall Wood FC Reserves 0

Chasetown Reserves maintained their position at the top of the Midland Combination League Reserve Division after beating local neighbours Walsall Wood at the Scholars Ground.

The Scholars took a while to settle probably in some part due to their month of inactivity with only speculative efforts on goal from Daniel O’Callaghan and Dan Rock the best of the early exchanges.

In the 13th minute a Jamie Hawkins free kick and then Jimmy Welnitschuk’s follow up strike were blocked by a resolute visiting defence before the ball bounced up to Chris Lewis whose looping header bounced on top of the crossbar before falling to safety.

Paul Larvin’s lofted through ball found Dan O’Callaghan on the right who duly cut inside beating two defenders in the process, however keeper Ellis was out quickly to block before the midfielder’s could shoot on goal.

On 20 minutes, a Hawkins free kick from wide on the left found Welnitschuk’s run to the near post, but his glancing header went narrowly wide.

The opening goal came on 34 minutes, neat build up on the left between Tom Billingham and Dan Rock, saw the latter deliver a low cross into Welnitschuk’s feet and the striker turned and shot powerfully which Wood keeper Ellis could only watch as the ball nestled into the corner of the net to give the home side the advantage at the break.

Chasetown looking to increase their lead, began the second half brightly with Daniel O’Callaghan giving Wood full back Holyhead a torrid time before delivering a delightful cross right onto the head of the on rushing Billingham who diverted his header just wide of the far post.

On 54 minutes, Tom Ivers was alert to beat Archer to Ellis’ throw out. He then fired goalwards from 30 yards and Wood keeper Ellis was unable to prevent the ball nestling in the corner of the net.

Walsall Wood’s Link had his team’s best chance to get back into the game, a low cross from the left saw the forward’s fierce effort instinctively diverted over the bar by the feet of Scholars keeper John Green.

Chasetown increased their lead just after the hour mark when Billingham’s long ball found the feet of Rock on the edge of the penalty area. The wide man turned his marker before striking the ball low past the diving Ellis into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Daniel O’Callaghan and then Hawkins both tested Wood keeper Ellis from long range as the Scholars looked to add to their goal tally.

Ellis then produced a wonderful finger tip save to deny Hawkins from a 25 yard free kick.

With 10 minutes remaining Rock’s cross from the left caused confusion in the visitor’s defence with Chris Horton heading just wide from the loose ball. Then substitute Drew Aiton got to the byline before delivering a delightful ball which Rock headed just wide.

In the final minute player-manager Mark Swann laid the ball inside to Hawkins who dribbled past the last Wood defender before bearing down on the visitors goal, but the Chasetown skipper was denied a fine solo goal after dragging his effort wide of Ellis’ far post.

Next week’s action for Chasetown Reserves sees them visit Heather St John’s in the league on Saturday (March 13), kick off 3pm, before visiting Boldmere St Michaels in the Challenge Bowl Semi-Final 2nd Leg on Wednesday (March 17), kick off 7.45pm.

Chasetown: Green, Larvin, Tom O’Callaghan, Lewis, Horton, Billingham, Ivers, Hawkins (Capt), Welnitschuk, Daniel O’Callaghan, Rock.  Subs: Aiton (Billingham 68), Pammenter (Ivers 61), Degville-Cross, Immerfreys, Swann (Welnitschuk 61).

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