Chasetown FC’s bad luck in cup competitions this season continued as they were knocked out of the Doodson Sports League Cup by a 120th-minute goal from local rivals Rushall Olympic.
On a night when floodlight trouble threatened to stop play at one point, a close-run cup tie saw both sides cancel each other out until the Pics struck right at the death just when a penalty shootout seemed inevitable.
The hosts started brightly and a fourth-minute free kick was tipped wide by stand-in Scholars goalkeeper Mark Wiggins, while Chasetown’s first chance did not come until the 14th minute when an inswinging corner from Mark Branch was headed out by home skipper Grant Beckett.
The Pics appeared to have taken the lead one minute later when Wiggins spilled the ball at the near post and Alan Wilkes poked the ball over the line, but referee Hobbis disallowed the goal to the consternation of the home supporters.
Another Branch corner was then headed out by Lucan Spittle but the ball was played back in from the right, Richard Teesdale heading down into the box but Mitch Tolley cleared before Linden Dovey could provide the finishing blow.
Home keeper Chris Gemmell denied the next Scholars attack, making a double save from Darren Stride and Danny Smith.
Stride was in good form for the visitors and headed out Matt Lewis’s free kick on the half hour, but play was then halted for around ten minutes due to floodlight failure. When things resumed the Pics defence had to be alert to clear a brace of Chasetown corners as they became stronger in the closing minutes, and a very eventful half ended goalless.
The second half began at a slightly slower pace, Wiggins called into action to block Wilkes’s low shot on 57 minutes while Lewis was next to go close but his shot went wide of the far post.
Rushall seemed certain to take the lead on 69 minutes but substitute Ahmed Obeng’s dribbling run was ended by a fine save from Wiggins at full stretch and Jack Farmer headed out the corner.
The Pics defence still looked sharp and a Branch free kick was headed away before a snap shot from Lee Wright went over the bar as both sides tried hard to keep up the momentum but seemed hesitant in attack. No further chances were forthcoming and extra time thus beckoned.
In the eighth minute of the first period Sean Platt headed out a Chasetown corner at the far post but chances were still few and far between as both sides cancelled each other out.
The second half saw a chance for Dovey but his low shot was blocked nicely by Tolley before Karl Edwards missed Chasetown’s clearest chance of the game when he somehow fired wide from three yards at the near post.
The Pics went close with three minutes to go when a ball into the box from Obeng was headed wide by Craig Bannister and then the ball was twice cleared off the line in a goalmouth scramble.
The Scholars began to look nervous and unsteady, and with penalties looming in the very last minute of extra time the defence failed to clear a ball in from Tolley on the left and defender James Skedgel headed over the line to break Scholars hearts.
Rushall: Gemmell, Spittle, Skedgel, Tolley, Platt, Beckett (c), Forde, Dacres, Lewis, Wilkes, Bottomer. Subs: Obeng (Wilkes 61), Bragoli, Melbourne, Fitzpatrick (Dacres 102), Bannister (Lewis 83).
Chasetown: Wiggins, Farmer, M Branch, Turner, Stride, Teesdale (c), Stephens, Hands, Dovey, Smith, Wright. Subs: Birch, Perrow, Westwood (Stride 70), Robinson (Smith 98), Edwards (Stephens 73).