Chasetown’s last home league game before Christmas had a bit of everything, but ultimately the Scholars left themselves with too much to do.
The overall result hinged on a three-minute spell midway through the first half.
On 19 minutes, Chase midfielder Gavin Saunders timed his run to beat the offside trap and his low shot had the sting taken out of it by defender Michael Nottingham and visiting keeper Gary Hateley got down well to save.
Within a minute, Gresley took the lead. Following a goalmouth scramble, Ryan Walker netted from close range.
Things went from bad to worse and in the 21st minute, the Derbyshire side were 2-0 to the good. Gareth Langford was given space outside the Chasetown penalty area and drilled a shot straight down the middle of the goal.
The Scholars fought back and Danny Smith had a great opportunity to reduce the arrears as he broke clear. His first touch took him wider than he would have liked but he still managed to drill a shot towards the near post which Hateley had to be at his best to keep out.
Gresley’s Phil Massingham hit the base of the post nine minutes before half time but it did not take them long after the interval to further widen their advantage. After a defensive mix-up, the ball came back off the post and fell to Jordan Nadat who fired home from close range past a defender on the line.
Simon Brown, on his first start for two months, came close to pulling a goal back. The winger spotted Hateley off his line and tried his luck from a wide angle, only for the keeper to scurry back and palm the ball over for a corner.
Craig Harris’ men did reduce the arrears though, in the 61st minute. Leading scorer Nick Wellecomme fed the ball into Danny Smith who rounded the keeper and side-footed home, netting his 50th league goal for Chasetown.
The Scholars received a further boost in the 69th minute when Nottingham received a straight red card for a foul from behind.
This woke up the crowd and gave the supporters real hope that a comeback was on the cards. Wellecomme saw his shot deflected over for a corner, and then eight minutes from time, substitute Theo Robinson was in a great shooting position but mishit his powerfully hit shot straight across the six yard box where Danny Smith poached his second goal, steering the ball beyond Hateley.
Not surprisingly, Chasetown pushed on to try and nick a point and an Andrew Westwood cross was inches away from what would have been Danny Smith’s hat-trick if Smith could have just stretched to guide it in.
In the first minute of four scheduled stoppage time minutes, Price denied Gresley substitute Marc Goodfellow but they did eventually make it 4-2 into the fifth minute of added time when Goodfellow did net.
There was still time for Chasetown to reduce the arrears again though when Wellecomme notched his 11th goal of the season in the dying seconds.
Chasetown: Price, Downes (Theo Robinson, 78 mins), Branch, Slater, Farmer, Bate, Westwood, Saunders (Ashton, 70 mins), Wellecomme, Smith (Hay, 89 mins), Brown. Subs not used: Gould, Bryan.
Gresley: Hateley, Roome, Stezyzewski, Walker, Nottingham, Barrett, Langford, Rathbone (Grice, 90+4 mins), Nadat (Goodfellow, 79 mins), Massingham (Hanslow, 84 mins), Spencer. Subs not used: Turville, Woods.
Click below to see more of Dave Birt’s pictures from the game:
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