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Despite working hard throughout the 90 minutes, Chasetown slipped to a 1-0 defeat to high-flying Northwich Victoria. The visitors would find few chances during a close-fought game, but on 13 minutes Chris Slater was beaten to the ball on the byline and a low ball across the face of goal was side-footed home by Tony Evans.
Courtney Pitt on the ball. Pic: Dave Birt
Claims for a Scholars penalty following a challenge on Danny Quinn two minutes later were waved away with Gary Birch then shooting wide, while the Chasetown defence were bearing up well against the playoff contenders and their only chances came via a couple of corners. Birch enjoyed a couple of further chances while Courtney Pitt went close with a free kick and a corner, the former flying over the bar and the latter punched away by keeper Ben Hinchcliffe. Hinchcliffe palmed away an acute-angled shot from Quinn as the second half began with Chasetown again enjoying the majority of chances of the end-to-end action, Pitt and Danny Smith among those going close. Pitt then found Birch in space on the right but his cross was saved by Hinchcliffe who then punched clear another attempt by Pitt, but the Scholars did not look frustrated and continued with guile and determination, the Vics’ only major chance coming on 78 minutes but their shot went wide. Neither side would find the target despite late pressure from the visitors who headed back to Cheshire with three points to close the gap on leaders Chester FC. One amusing talking point came when a Birch shot rattled off the front of the Crown Cutting Services stand and landed in a rubbish bin – something many fans speculated the striker could not repeat if he tried! Chasetown now travel to Chorley on Saturday (April 7), kick-off 3pm, before taking on local rivals Hednesford Town on Easter Monday (3pm). Chasetown: Evans, Farmer, M Branch, Slater, Charlton, Hands, Smith, Lycett, Birch (c), Quinn, Pitt. Subs: Bridgewater (Pitt 80), Teesdale, Downes, Perrow (Quinn 72), Archer (Birch 85). Northwich: Hinchcliffe, Disney, Fitzpatrick, Collins, Kearney (c), Armstrong, Roddy, Johnson, Evans, Woolfe, Riley. Subs: Clarke (Johnson 65), Abbott (Woolfe 82), Law, Wade (Riley 68), Smyth. Click to see more of Dave Birt’s pictures from the game.