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Chasetown FC 3 Kettering Town FC 3

Chasetown players celebrate Gary Birch's goal. Pic: Dave Birt

Chasetown players celebrate Gary Birch's goal. Pic: Dave Birt

A sensational FA Carlsberg Trophy tie saw Chasetown take Blue Square Premier side Kettering Town to a replay with an action-packed 3-3 draw.

This was a true classic cup tie with non-stop entertainment and no real indication of which way the spoils would go at any point.  The Scholars showed no fear of their opponents from two steps higher in the non-League pyramid and put up a superb fight, but Ian Roper frustrated their hopes with an equaliser two minutes from time.

After a fairly quiet start to the encounter, Gary Hay began to show good pace down the centre but no chances were forthcoming, while Matty Cohen worked well to break up the Poppies’ first attack of the game.

Former Walsall man Ian Roper headed out Chasetown’s first real chance in the 15th minute, while Richard Davies was celebrating the extension of his loan from Telford with some aggressive play in midfield, his long ball into the box sent straight to Poppies keeper Kelvin Jack in the 17th minute.

A dangerous Kettering free kick on the edge of the area was hammered into the Scholars wall by former Birmingham City favourite Paul Furlong, but the visitors were looking ever stronger.

Hay found a breakthrough on 25 minutes but was denied by the offside flag as the game became tougher as the half progressed.  Roper picked up a booking for a foul on Ramone Stephens, but Jack was on hand to tip Farmer’s resulting free kick over the bar.

The visitors broke the deadlock on 32 minutes when Stephens looked to have blocked an effort from Jean-Paul Marna, but Brett Solkhon stole in at the far post to poke the ball home.

Furlong headed over the bar on 40 minutes before Gary Birch fired a free kick straight into Jack’s arms to conclude the half.

The second half started in explosive and extraordinary fashion when Farmer’s high free kick from the left was gathered by Jack, but the Trinidad and Tobago international inexplicably dropped the ball into the net and Chasetown were level, the furious keeper hoofing the ball into the crowd and receiving a yellow card.

Chasetown's Gary Birch celebrates his goal against Kettering Town. Pic: Dave Birt

Chasetown's Gary Birch celebrates his goal against Kettering Town. Pic: Dave Birt

Kettering refused to let the setback affect them as the atmosphere in the Scholars Ground heightened, Roper heading away a home attack on the hour before Chasetown took the lead against the odds.  Birch ran onto a Stephens cross and outpaced Roper to round Jack and coolly slot home ther Scholars’ second.

An instant fightback from the Poppies saw Chris Peel alert to clear Jean-Paul Marna’s chance off the line as a classic cup tie continued to develop, the Chase faithful in full voice all around the ground.

Ben Jevons tried to stab the ball past Jack on 70 minutes but was beaten by the offside flag, and one minute later the Poppies were level when Furlong headed past Ryan Price.

Kettering could have taken the lead in the 80th minute but Davies superbly blocked Marcus Kelly’s shot, while Jack pushed away Dave Egan’s effort following a Peel corner but a second corner from Farmer saw Birch turn, beat the defence and fire across Jack and into the net to restore the Scholars’ lead once again.

Richard Davies makes a tackle. Pic: Dave Birt

Richard Davies makes a tackle. Pic: Dave Birt

Still the tension remained, a goalmouth scramble seeing the Chasetown defence somehow prevent another equaliser with three minutes on the clock, but two minutes later Roper drew the Poppies level once more when Roper volleyed a James Dance cross into the net.

The very last action of the match saw Furlong head inches over the bar, and a cracking cup tie ended in a draw.

The replay will now take place at the Elgoods Arena on Tuesday (December 14), with the successful side’s opponents decided by today’s draw.

Chasetown: Price, Farmer, Peel, Cohen, Davies, Teesdale (c), Stephens, Egan, Birch, Hay, Jevons.  Subs: Ryan, Perrow (Hay 72), Bridgewater, Slater, M Branch.
Kettering: Jack (c), Westwood, Roper, Furlong, Marna, Kelly, Taylor, Dance, Green, Solkhon, Noubissie.  Subs: Graham, Dempster, McKoy (Solkhon 54), Hoban, Pryor.

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