Chasetown FC 1 Kidsgrove Athletic FC 1

Richard Teesdale receives the runners-up trophy from Alan Ogley. Pic: Dave Birt

Richard Teesdale receives the runners-up trophy from Alan Ogley. Pic: Dave Birt

Grant Ryan’s dramatic stoppage time equaliser sealed both a 1-1 draw and second place in the league for Chasetown against Kidsgrove Athletic.

The game had been fairly lacklustre for much of the warm afternoon, with both sides cancelling each other out, but the stadium erupted as the substitute found a hole in the Grove defence with seconds to spare.

After some fast-paced early play Gary Birch had Chasetown’s first chance but his low shot was cleared off the line, but Kidsgrove were proving a good test for the Scholars and Ben Jevons and Mark Branch had to work hard at the back.

On 12 minutes Danny Smith – not to be confused with the Chasetown striker of the same name – fired over the bar, before Birch tried to set up Dave Egan but Danny Schwarz was able to clear, and Jevons then headed wide.

A high cross from Danny Smith for Chasetown then just failed to meet Birch at the far post, and Chasetown began to look stronger but could not create clear chances.

The visitors then cut through courtesy of Aiden Matranga but no-one was at the far post to tap his cross home, and an end of season atmosphere soon began to envelop the Scholars Ground as both sides cancelled each other out.

Birch fired into the side netting from a Perrow cross on 38 minutes, while Ryan Price had to be alert for the first time a minute later to block Liam Shotton’s run on goal. Adam Beasley’s long range effort then went over the bar.

The second half began in similar fashion, the only break from the norm coming when Perrow shot wide in the 50th minute.

Kidsgrove Athletic take the lead against Chasetown. Pic: Dave Birt

Kidsgrove Athletic take the lead against Chasetown. Pic: Dave Birt

Jevons then clashed with Matranga in front of goal but both were able to continue, and went close with a header on the hour following some good play on the right by Perrow and Egan.

The visitors broke the deadlock on 63 minutes when a long ball from the left floated into the edge of the area and Matt Haddrell was there to head the ball past Price into the far corner of the net.

The Scholars quickly rallied with Birch nicely chesting down a high ball from Mark Branch but the former’s shot was blocked by Tom Schwarz, but the Grove defence was looking tougher and breakthroughs were hard to find.

In the 92nd minute the Scholars did find a gap in the defence, however, and Ryan burst in to fire home the equaliser and seal Chasetown’s runner-up finish in the division.

The playoff semi-final takes place at the Scholars Ground on Tuesday (April 27), with Sheffield FC the opponents. Kick-off is at 7.45pm, and admission is £7 for adults and £3 for concessions.

Grant Ryan equalises for Chasetown against Kidsgrove. Pic Dave Birt

Grant Ryan equalises for Chasetown against Kidsgrove. Pic Dave Birt

Chasetown: Price, J Branch, M Branch, Slater, Saunders, Teesdale (c), Danny Smith, Egan, Birch, Perrow, Jevons. Subs: Ryan (Perrow 77), Steane (D Smith 75), Thomas, L Smith (Saunders 44), Woolley.
Kidsgrove: Intihar, Danny Smith, Dove (c), T Schwarz, D Schwarz, Sanders, Matranga, Beasley, Shotton, Haddrell, McGaw. Subs: Morris (Sanders 89), Bridge, Walker (Haddrell 82), Moss, Shenton.

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