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Chasetown FC 2 Glapwell 1

A spectacular late turnaround saw Chasetown FC snatch victory deep into injury time for a 2-1 victory over Glapwell.

Just seconds remained on the clock when Mark Branch’s free kick was deflected home by a Well defender for a fine comeback victory – proving that the determination and resilience of the Scholars can never be discounted.

Chasetown were keen to get back on top form following their defeat at Bloxwich United on Thursday, and were soon in attacking mode.  Mark Branch’s free kick from the right in the seventh minute was blocked by the Well defence and Danny Smith and Gary Birch showed good early pace with Gavin Saunders providing support further back although his 16th minute free kick was palmed away by Andy Richmond.

Glapwell’s first attack saw Aaron Shelley fire his right-footed shot wide, and on 20 minutes a scramble following a corner saw Jamie Clarke fire point blank from a tight angle but home keeper Ryan Price pushed the ball round the post.  This was to be one of few chances the visitors would find, as the Scholars defence worked harder as the game progressed.

A mistake by Matt Varley on 26 minutes looked set to create a scoring chance but Birch’s effort went over the bar, before Richmond punched away Mark Branch’s free kick from the right with Saunders lashing the rebound through the defence but it went wide of the post.

Clarke continued to look dangerous for the Well with John Branch and Chris Slater continuing to work to counter his attacks before opportunities to open the scoring presented themselves, but Glapwell’s tough defence was also living up to its reputation as one of the best in the division and few chances were apparent for the home side.

The Scholars soon upped the pace slightly and on 36 minutes Duncan Horler’s flicked header from a Mark Branch free kick produced a fine one-handed save from Richmond, and the Well keeper plucked away Birch’s header from Horler’s cross five minutes later.

Vaughan Thomas was adjudged to have conceded a foul in the 49th minute and Glapwell were awarded a penalty which Varley swept low to Price’s right to put them ahead.

The Scholars tried their hardest to regroup and new signing Ben Jevons went close with a header following a Birch cross on 58 minutes, before Clarke departed injured and was replaced by former Nottingham Forest man Neil Grayson.

Another Mark Branch free kick from the halfway line flew to the impressive Richmond, but chances were still few as both sides cancelled each other out.  Smith went close in the 75th minute but his shot flew wide

Horler was next to find a chance with a header at the far post from Birch’s cross, but yet again Richmond was equal to it, and with ten minutes on the clock Ramone Stephens fired into the side netting under pressure.

In the 81st minute Stephens beat two defenders on the right with some well-planned play and crossed for Smith to coolly fire into the roof of the net for a fine equaliser.

A frantic scramble following a corner in the closing minutes saw the Glapwell defence somehow keep numerous attempts out, but deep into added time Mark Branch curled in a free kick from the right and the ball deflected past Richmond off a defender for a last-gasp victory to delirium from the Scholars faithful.

Chasetown now turn their attention to the Staffordshire Senior Cup as they visit Newcastle Town on Tuesday (March 9), kick off 7.45pm, before hosting Grantham Town at the Scholars Ground next Saturday (March 13), kick off 3pm.

Chasetown: Price J Branch (c), M Branch, Slater, Saunders, Thomas, Steane, Jevons, Birch, Smith, Horler.  Subs: Hay (Birch 89), Ryan, Egan (Jevons 69), Stephens (Steane 60), Teesdale.
Glapwell: Richmond, Darkin, Magee, Varley, Kennedy, Timons (c), Shelley, Walker, Clarke, Brown, Higginson.  Subs: Grayson (Clarke 62), Kitchen (Higginson 60), Kimberley, Hanson, West.

Goals: Varley pen 49, Smith 81, M Branch 94.

Referee: Ms A Ihringova.

Attendance: 413.

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