Chasetown FC kick-off the new season with a victory over Gresley

Lee Parsons challenges. Pic: Dave Birt

Lee Parsons challenges. Pic: Dave Birt

Chasetown kicked off 2014-15 with a narrow victory to notch the first three points of the campaign.

The club paid their respects throughout the afternoon to former long-serving manager Mervyn Rowe who had died in July – and an impeccable minute’s silence was held to commemorate the life of the man who won four trophies in 12 seasons at The Scholars Ground, with a dozen members of the Rowe family including wife Pauline among the crowd as guests of the club.

A tentative first half seemed to be played as if neither side wanted to lose their opening day game and it was the visitors who probably had the best chances to make their mark.

Kieran O’Connell put pressure on Tesfa Robinson who conceded possession and O’Connell fed Rob Ritchie-Smith who was narrowly wide of John Bateman’s right-hand post.

Bateman then made the first and only real save of the first half, rushing out to block Eric Graves after O’Connell had again turned provider.

Chasetown took the lead just short of the hour mark when a long free-kick pumped forward saw Gresley keeper Tom Turner advance to try and punch clear but was beaten to it by Nick Wellecomme who flicked a deft header over the keeper to mark his 100th Chasetown appearance with his 41st goal for the club.

Jazz Luckie's effort finds the net. Pic: Dave Birt

Jazz Luckie’s effort finds the net. Pic: Dave Birt

Nathan Waite was close to adding a debut goal to increase Chasetown’s lead when neat interplay saw the number ten with a chance but he fired across Turner but wide of the post.

The Derbyshire side levelled when Bateman failed to gather a long throw-in and Graves got to the loose ball first and teed up former Scholar Alex Steadman, who had only been on the field ten minutes, and prodded home from close range.

Three minutes from time, Chasetown regained the lead. Simon Brown sent a free-kick forward into the penalty area, Turner misjudged it completely and the ball trickled towards the goal, ricocheted off Gresley defender John Guy and the upright straight to Jazz Luckie who netted from close range just four minutes after coming onto the field.

Perhaps an opening day draw would have been the fairest result on the balance of play but Luckie’s late strike was just what the majority of the 206 crowd wanted as an apt send off to former manager Rowe.

Chasetown: Bateman, Johnson, Ravenhill, Slater, Robinson, Downes, Butler (Brown, 83 mins), Parsons, Wellecomme (Danny J Edwards, 90+3 mins), Waite (Luckie, 83 mins), Davies
Subs not used: Evans, Beckett
Gresley FC: Turner, Hanson, Harrison, Guy, Barrett, Graves, Mulonga (Steadman, 69 mins), Roome, Wells (Smyth, 78 mins), O’Connell, Ritchie-Smith (Langston, 78 mins)
Subs not used: Land, Johns.

Click below to see more of Dave Birt’s pictures from the game: