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Chasetown FC 1 Loughborough Dynamo FC 1

Jamie Clarke’s second half equaliser denied Chasetown FC victory over Loughborough Dynamo FC in their UniBond League match.

Although both sides showed some flashes of strong play and created chances, this was largely a drawn out and slightly scrappy affair that saw the sides cancel each other out.

The visitors displayed some good positional play over the opening minutes with Ross Miller working hard to counter them in defence, but it was Chasetown who had the first chance in the seventh minute when the returning Reece Styche forced Matt Nurse into a diving save with a right-footed shot.

Miller’s free kick from the right on 11 minutes was punched away by Nurse who then tipped away Ben Steane’s cross following a corner.

Ryan Price produced a cracking save in the 20th minute, diving full to his right to deny Clarke as the visitors pushed harder.  Price was again called into action to stop Alex Johnson’s free kick moments later, before Styche went agonisingly close to opening the scoring on 26 minutes as his shot flew inches wide of the top corner.

Miller and Adie Smith were being forced to work hard by Clarke and his fellow Dynamo attackers, a chance for Clarke deflected wide on 34 minutes and Mike McLarnon heading the resultant corner over the bar.

The Scholars showed signs of a comeback, Richard Batchelor displaying some good pace down the left, while Steane was his usual lively self in midfield but the hosts couldn’t find a way through.

Reece Styche celebrates his goal against Loughborough Dynamo. Pic: Dave Birt

Reece Styche celebrates his goal against Loughborough Dynamo. Pic: Dave Birt

The second half continued much as the first until the 49th minute when Gary Birch shaved the top of Nurse’s crossbar, and the Scholars were ahead three minutes later as Styche headed home Mark Branch’s free kick from the right for a goalscoring return from injury.

The goal spurred the Scholars into top gear, Birch working as hard as he could to close down the visitors and Steane continuing to impress in midfield.  The latter cut in well from the left on 65 minutes and played the ball back to Mark Branch, but his shot was tamely struck and Nurse was able to collect.

Clarke went close for the visitors two minutes later but the flag was up for offside, but he made no mistake on 70 minutes with a free header across Price into the far corner to bring Dynamo level.

Duncan Horler made his return to Scholars colours as he replaced Batchelor on 74 minutes as the side fought to retake the lead.  Mark Branch played Steane’s corner onto Styche’s head on 79 minutes but the striker headed over the bar, while Danny Smith joined the attack at the expense of Styche for the last ten minutes as the Scholars tried their hardest to find a breakthrough.

Gavin Saunders moved up in the closing minutes to join Danny Smith and Birch in attack, but Nurse was equal to their efforts on goal and the game ended in a draw.

Chasetown now switch to League Cup action as they visit Leek Town on Tuesday (7.45pm kick-off) before travelling to Grantham Town next Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Chasetown: Price, J Branch (c), M Branch, Miller, A Smith, Milligan, Steane, Saunders, Birch, Styche, Batchelor.  Subs: Bragoli, Horler (Batchelor 74), Slater, D Smith (Styche 80), Horton.
Loughborough: M Nurse (c), Noble, L Allen, Latham, Betts, McLarnon, Ross, Brennan, K Nurse, J Clarke, Johnson.  Subs: Lester (J Clarke 85), Collis (Betts 80), J Allen (McLarnon 87), M Clarke, Bredice.

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