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A record league attendance at the Scholars Ground saw Chasetown rekindle their play-off hopes with a 2-0 win over nine-man FC United of Manchester.
A goal at the end of each half was enough for the Scholars in a hard-fought game, Mark Branch in top form with a string of set-pieces while Richard Davies also made the scoresheet in fine style.
A tight first half saw Chasetown guilty of conceding too may free kicks inside their own half, but it was the Scholars who would take the lead through Davies in first half stoppage time.
The Mancunians had the first chance in the fifth minute when Matt Wolfenden headed Jerome Wright’s cross wide, Jimmy Turner then clearing another pair of chances for the visitors before he set up Ramone Stephens for a trademark cross but his effort was headed out for a goal kick.
FC United had the ball in the net on 21 minutes after skipper Mike Norton nodded the ball down to Wolfenden to score but the flag was up for offside and Scholars keeper Darren Acton then cleared from Simon Carden.
The Scholars would then enjoy their first clear cut chance on 25 minutes with Gary Hay about to head for goal but keeper Sam Ashton plucked the ball from the striker’s head after Ben Jevons had headed the ball into the box, a succession of free kicks following with neither side finding a clear breakthrough.
The decision by the Scholars to switch Davies into the front line paid off in the closing minutes of the half, his burst through on 43 minutes ended when Ashton came out off his line to hack the ball clear before in stoppage time Davies went one-on-one with the keeper and fired left-footed past his outstretched hand to put the hosts in front.
The visitors had the first chance after the break but Wright’s shot was blocked by Turner, while Hay thought he had scored on the hour mark when he fired a shot under Ashton but the flag had gone up late for offside.
Chasetown had a narrow escape on 66 minutes when the defence blocked a shot and the ball went just wide of Acton’s post, before Hay found another good chance when the ball was played into his path but Ashton was able to clear.
A tangle between Turner and Norton saw the United skipper sent off for stamping on the Chasetown defender, and the visitors would be reduced to nine men in the closing minutes when Wright was given his marching orders for an elbow on Mark Branch having picked up another bookings moments previously.
The Scholars dominated the closing stages and in the last minute doubled their tally when a Mark Branch free kick went through the middle of everyone and into the roof of the net to complete a fine victory.
Next up is a home meeting with Worksop Town on Tuesday (April 19), kick-off 7.45pm, before a trip to Kendal Town next Saturday (3pm).
Chasetown: Acton, Turner, M Branch, Slater, J Branch, Teesdale (c), Stephens, Egan, Hay, Davies, Jevons. Subs: Morris, Parsons, Farmer (Stephens 84), Perrow, Cohen.
FC United: Ashton, Jacobs, Neville, Platt, Chadwick, McManus, Wolfenden, Carden, Norton (c), Wright, Cottrell. Subs: Battersby, Roca, Torpey (Wolfenden 63), Holden (Platt 81), Deegan (Carden 51).
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