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Chasetown FC 2 Lincoln United 2

Ten-man Chasetown FC were denied victory at the death as Lincoln United snatched an equaliser with seconds to spare at the Scholars Ground.

Supporters were left frustrated as the visitors were allowed more and more chances over the closing minutes following a strong start to the afternoon by the Scholars, and what many sensed as inevitable finally came in the fifth minute of added time as Kallum Smith equalised.

A fast-paced start saw Mark Branch looking to continue his good form from the previous weekend’s draw at Loughborough with some strong play down the left wing, while both sides proved evenly matched in some tough midfield play early on.

Lincoln lost Danny George to injury after only 15 minutes before Chris Slater broke an attack by Ben Garrick who ran onto a long ball, and clear cut chances were few as the half progressed until on 22 minutes Danny Smith deflected a low shot from Duncan Horler to the right of the diving Mario Ziccardi to put the Scholars ahead.

Tempers frayed somewhat following a scramble in keeper Ryan Price’s box three minutes later, while appeals for a penalty from the Scholars were turned away after Ramone Stephens was felled on the edge of the area.  A corner from the left from Gavin Saunders was then headed home under pressure by Horler to double the home side’s lead.

Dave Egan’s point blank shot on 40 minutes was blocked and Gary Birch’s follow-up was saved by Ziccardi, and the hosts were looking stronger all the time.

United went close from a Matt O’Halloran free kick as the second half got underway before Smith hit the side netting from close range as the Scholars quickly got back into top gear.

Against the run of play, however, United pulled a goal back in the strangest of circumstances on 52 minutes.  Ben Garrick blocked an attempted clearance from Price and the ball flew back past the keeper as he advanced out of his area and surprised everyone by nestling in the corner of the unguarded net.

Vaughan Thomas then had a great chance to grab a third for the Scholars but hit the crossbar from close range, but minutes later was then shown a red card for a second bookable offence after a heavy challenge on Sam Wilkinson.
Lincoln pushed harder than ever in the final fifteen minutes with Terry Fleming and Steve Melton going close before Birch jabbed a right-footed shot wide for the Scholars following more good work on the left by Mark Branch.

As United looked stronger all the time Kallum Smith then jinked around two home defenders to shoot across the face of goal but his effort went inches wide of the far post, and the play was all Lincoln’s in the final minutes. Deep into added time the pressure finally paid off for Lincoln as a low cross from the left found Kallum Smith who fired past Price and steal a point for the visitors.

The Scholars take a break from league action this Tuesday as they travel to Stafford Rangers in the Staffordshire Senior Cup.  Kick-off at Marston Road is at 7.45pm, and admission is £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.

Chasetown: Price, J Branch, M Branch, Slater, Saunders, Thomas, Stephens, Egan (c), Birch, D Smith, Horler.  Subs: Hay, Ryan, Teesdale (D Smith 68), Steane (Stephens 63), Embrey (Egan 45).
Lincoln: Ziccardi, Fleming, Porter, McDaid (c), Wilkins, George, Garrick, Melton, Wilkinson, O’Halloran, K Smith.  Subs: Bull, Funnell (Wilkinson 82), Hawley (O’Halloran 82), Machin (George 15), Zuerner.

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