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Chasetown FC 1 Shepshed Dynamo 1

Chasetown FC came close to celebrating manager Charlie Blakemore’s birthday with a win, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw in their first ever home UniBond League fixture against Shepshed Dynamo.

Both sides were closely matched in both attack and defence with the hosts starting brightly in front of a large crowd, but former Scholar Chad Sheppard produced a well-placed set piece in the closing minutes to secure a point for the visitors.

Chasetown won a corner from the off which was headed over the bar by Dave Egan, and the positive start continued with Ben Steane firing a shot from close range directly at Dynamo keeper Nick Jupp.

Shepshed began to click into gear with a brace of attacks down the right, but Richard Batchelor and Richard Teesdale were on hand to counter, and the action moved back upfield with Egan firing at Jupp having beaten two defenders.

Danny Gaunt was dispossessed at the point of shooting by Vaughan Thomas on 26 minutes, and the two sides continued to be very evenly matched in midfield in a close-run game.

Richard Batchelor

Richard Batchelor

A run down the left by Ben Steane was halted by Sheppard on 32 minutes, and he and Mark Branch continued to battle the robust Dynamo defence while Danny Smith was his usual speedy self at the front.

With seconds on the clock in first half stoppage time Chris Slater’s well-placed free kick was headed neatly home by Batchelor at the near post to put the Scholars ahead at a perfect time.

Mark Branch’s free kick from the left flew straight to Jupp to begin the second half, and the visiting defence began to up their game and make it tougher, and their first chance of the half came on 58 minutes but Scholars keeper Ryan Price was on hand.

An attack by Smith down the right was stopped by some sharp defending from Adam Goodby, before the striker was fouled in the centre but Mark Branch sent his free kick too far forward for a Chasetown player to get close.

The Scholars remained in an alert and attacking mode throughout, but still the target proved elusive.  On 69 minutes Egan produced a perfect cross from the right and Smith forced Jupp into a diving save to his right as the Scholars kept up the pressure.  John Branch crossed from the right five minutes later and Batchelor rose under pressure at the far post but could not get his head to it.

Goodby then conceded a corner on the right which came to nothing for the Scholars, and the next chance was deflected away by Dominic Reece in front of goal.

With six minutes remaining Shepshed equalised courtesy of a superb direct free kick by Sheppard whose right-footed effort sneaked in at Price’s far post.

Chasetown tried to fight back, but things remained tight in midfield and the Leicestershire side held on to share the honours.

The Scholars next host Quorn on Saturday (3pm kick-off) before travelling to Sheffield FC next Tuesday (7.45pm kick-off).

Chasetown: Price, J Branch, M Branch, Slater, Thomas, Teesdale (c), Steane, Bragoli, Egan, D Smith, Batchelor.  Subs: Harris, Milligan, Marshall (Smith 74), Greenway (Steane 90), Holland.
Shepshed: Jupp, Powell, Reece, Tullin, Goodby, Love, Timmins, Sheppard (c), Styche, Gaunt, Robinson.  Subs: Ashby (Gaunt 55), Morris, Jones (Powell 82), Webb (GK).

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