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Witton Albion FC 1 Chasetown FC 2

Chasetown FC went top of UniBond League Division 1 South with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Witton Albion.

Ben Steane. Pic: Dave Birt

Ben Steane. Pic: Dave Birt

Despite over a month’s enforced lay-off from League action, the side were quickly back into their stride with Ben Steane and Reece Styche the men on target in a good display of football from both sides, the home side impressing with their second half fightback.

Styche picked up exactly where he left off after the friendly at Pelsall on Tuesday with a run at goal in the sixth minute, while league debutant Ramone Stephens put together some good attacks with Dave Egan who was denied by a diving Aaron Grundy on 19 minutes.

In the 28th minute Steane shrugged off a foul from home skipper Paul Henry to put the Scholars in front. Egan and Stephens combined again to play through Gary Birch and his pass found Steane who fired low into the corner in a good team effort.

The goal certainly spurred Albion into action, and Ryan Price made up for a mistake in the 31st minute by heading clear as Carl Lamb bore down on goal, and at the close of the half the Scholars keeper again stopped a shot from Lamb at the near post.

Price’s form continued after the break as he stopped substitute Steve Foster’s free kick, but five minutes later Albion were level as a long clearance beat Richard Teesdale and Foster lobbed the ball over Price for the equaliser.

Witton had clearly rallied their troops well during the interval as Brad Maylett was next to go close before Henry had a great chance to put them ahead but fired over the bar.

Price’s presence became ever more valuable as the home revival continued, the keeper pushing Mark Cadwallader’s shot wide on 66 minutes, and the visitors clearly needed to dig deeper to find a breakthrough.

With ten minutes left on the clock, they found it. Steane fed the ball to Styche on the right of the area and the striker’s rasping right-footed shot flew into the roof of the net to restore Chasetown’s lead.

Price was called upon again in the closing stages to collect a deflected shot, while in the 89th minute Witton were reduced to ten men when Colin McAllister was dismissed for bringing down Stephens.

As boss Charlie Blakemore celebrated his 200th win in 347 league and cup matches at the helm of the Scholars, the travelling supporters then switched their attention to the other league results, and with Kidsgrove Athletic and Rushall Olympic both tasting defeat, Chasetown were confirmed as top of the table on goal difference from Mickleover Sports.

The Scholars now move on to President’s Cup action this Tuesday (January 26) as they take on Belper Town at the Scholars Ground (7.45pm kick-off).

Witton: Grundy, Adams, Neville, Pritchard, McAllister, Henry (c), Heler, Cadwallader, Lamb, Maylett, Doherty. Subs: Foster (Doherty 36), Brodie, Broadhead (Cadwallader 74), Morgan (Adams 88).
Chasetown: Price, J Branch, Milligan, Slater, Saunders, Teesdale (c), Steane, Egan, Birch, Styche, Stephens. Subs: Smith, Hay (Birch 61), Thomas, Miller, Embrey.

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