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Chasetown FC hit eight without reply against Heather St John’s

Chasetown FC signed off their pre-season with a confidence-boosting 8-0 romp over Midland Football Alliance side Heather St John’s.

Heather St John’s had already started their league season but were without a league fixture due to the FA Cup and were willing opponents to give Chasetown one final test before the start of their campaign.

The Scholars had drawn 1-1 in both their previous friendlies with MFA sides (Studley and Tipton Town) and could not have wished for a better start as after six minutes Jack Farmer broke down the right wing with a powerful run and an equally good cross to the near post was fired home by Gary Hay.

Ten minutes later, Chasetown doubled their lead. Nick Wellecomme was blocked off by a St John’s defender near the corner flag and Mark Branch’s free kick was met by Gary Hay who doubled his tally with a neat finish.

Gary Hay

Gary Hay

Hay hit the outside of the post with a fierce effort as he looked to notch his hat-trick in a very one-sided first half hour.

The Scholars were playing some beautiful passing football, ripping through the home defence. On 30 minutes, an excellent one-two involving Dave Bate and Simon Brown saw the former Tipton skipper skew his final shot wide of the post.

The third goal was not long in coming. Farmer was awarded a free-kick inside his own half which Richard Teesdale tapped short to him. Farmer sent forward a long searching ball into the path of Nick Wellecomme who had the strength to outmuscle his defender and drive home from a difficult angle as the home keeper rushed out.

The second half was a continuation of where the first half ended and it was purely a matter of how many Chasetown would score. The highly impressive Andy Westwood notched the fourth with a right-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area which took the slightest of nicks off a defender – enough to wrong-foot the goalkeeper who could only spill the ball into the net as he tried to re-adjust.

Wellecomme added his second and Chasetown’s fifth with the coolest of finishes. After he has pressed the defender and goalkeeper, twelve yards out, Wellecomme could easily have just rolled the ball towards the unguarded goal, but took great pleasure in cheekily walking the ball in, with the despairing St John’s keeper left in his trail.

Gary Hay hit the post for a second time, before completing his hat-trick – but only just! Substitute Billy Russell did all the hard work drawing out the keeper and sliding the ball across the six-yard box where the Scholars striker couldn’t miss. But, reminiscent of Ronny Rosenthal’s glaring miss for Liverpool versus Aston Villa in 1992, Hay’s effort scooped up, but luckily for him and unlike Rosenthal, Hay’s effort hit the underside of the crossbar and went in.

Goal number seven was the pick of the bunch. A lovely touch from Billy Russell sent substitute Paul Sullivan into the penalty area and he chipped the ball over the defender and would probably have got a shot away himself, but for the presence of Greg Downes who steered the ball home.

There was still time for one more strike from Harris’ men. Billy Russell nipped into the penalty area and took the ball round the Heather St John’s keeper only to be flattened for a spot-kick. Mark Branch, who took the responsibility for the penalties towards the end of last season, confidently sent the keeper the wrong way to round off an excellent victory for Chasetown.

Chasetown: Price, Farmer, Branch, Slater, Bate, Teesdale (Richardson), Westwood (Clarke-O’Connell), Downes (Johnson), Hay (Sullivan), Wellecomme (Russell), Brown (Gould).

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