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Chasetown FC 0 Romulus 0

Romulus stepped in to fill the void left by Tamworth’s withdrawal at Chasetown on Tuesday, and the two sides battled hard through adverse conditions for a goalless draw.

A positive and lively atmosphere lifted the spirits of both sides, and plenty of close and competitive midfield play saw the sides very evenly matched.

In monsoon conditions the Scholars splashed into action with an attack down the left from winger Mark Branch, while Dave Egan had things covered on the opposite side with some powerful play.

Dean Perrow had the first attempt at goal but Romulus keeper Matt Sergeant palmed away his right-footed shot, while the visitors’ response was kept out by some good work by Ross Miller and Craig Milligan in front of goal.

As the rain eased off the game’s pace began to improve, with Chasetown displaying excellent ball control and resilience under attack from their tough opponents.

Darren Middleton forced Sergeant into a diving save on 19 minutes and Dave Barnett worked hard to block a Perrow cross three minutes later, and the Goal Machine was then denied again in front of goal by the defence after picking up a well-placed cross from the returning Gary Birch.

Branch leapt to head away an incoming cross and deny Robbie Banks on the half hour as Perrow departed with a leg injury and was replaced by Jarrod McGivern.  Despite the loss of their main strike force the Scholars did not give up, and Egan headed Darren Middleton’s corner over the bar on 35 minutes.  Marcus Brown then rounded Chasetown keeper Ryan Price and no flag was displayed but Milligan was on hand to block his shot at the last moment.

The Roms defence headed away Branch’s cross on 38 minutes, and though Price’s goal had been rarely threatened the home side could not afford to relax.

The visitors had clearly rallied themselves during the break as they went close from a corner two minutes into the second half.  McGivern responded with a strong run down the left but Sergeant was able to dive low and hang onto the resultant shot.

Romulus continued to press hard, cannoning a shot of Price’s near post on 54 minutes and displaying some controlled play in the air, and this prompted Chasetown to throw Harry Harris, Danny Smith and Danny Bragoli into the attack.

Craig Marshall unleashed a charging run down the left on 63 minutes but was stopped by Richard Evans  and Sergeant gathered the resulting corner and a fine period of quick end to end play followed.

Marshall was certainly in attacking mode and the Roms defence had to up their pace to attempt to shackle him, before Harris sent a powerful free kick straight to Sergeant on 72 minutes.

Egan was next to go close, shooting wide on 77 minutes before more tough play ensued as the teams battled in midfield.  Tom Franklin then sent a tight-angled shot over the bar for the visitors, while McGivern provided the Scholars’ final effort as he blasted a shot inches over in the final minute.

Chasetown travel to Tipton Town on Wednesday evening (7.30pm kick-off) before making the trip to last season’s promotion rivals Leamington on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Chasetown: Taylor, Miller (Holland 45), M Branch (Woodhouse 69), Slater, V Thomas (c), Milligan (Horton 65), Middleton (Bragoli 58), Woodvine (Harris 58), Birch (Marshall 45), Perrow (McGivern 30, then D Smith 69), Egan (McGivern 80).  Not used: Greenway, Price.
Romulus: Sergeant, Douglas (Franklin 81), Evans, Barnett (Blake 45), Folkes, Ward (L Brown 45), Banks, C Thomas (Johnson 65), Fagan (Robinson 45), M Brown (Williams 45), Grandison.

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