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Win at Gresley sets Chasetown FC up for crunch clash in play-off race

Chasetown FC were good value for the three points at Gresley to set up a crunch match in the battle for the play-offs with Halesowen Town on Monday.

With Sutton Coldfield defeated, both The Scholars and their Easter Monday opponents moved within six points of the play-off places with a game in hand.

Paul Sullivan opens the scoring for Chasetown. Pic: Dave Birt

Paul Sullivan opens the scoring for Chasetown. Pic: Dave Birt

Chasetown could not have wished for a better start as they took the lead inside the sixth minute. With the home defence appealing for an offside flag that was never forthcoming, Paul Sullivan had all the time in the world to slot the ball beyond Gary Hateley.

Gresley had some large periods of pressure but it was Chasetown who were creating the goalscoring opportunities and were perhaps unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Theo Robinson was sent tumbling inside the penalty area.

Jack Farmer gets away from his marker. Pic: Dave Birt

Jack Farmer gets away from his marker. Pic: Dave Birt

The home side had a chance to level on the stroke of half-time. After a goalmouth scramble, the ball fell invitingly to Danny Holmes who smashed a fierce volley goalwards where Richard Teesdale threw himself in front of the shot to make a strong block.

The visitors were quickly out of the block in the second half too, doubling their lead within five minutes of the restart.

Craig Harris’ men capitalised on a slip by Jordi Gough in the home defence presenting Sullivan with another clear shot at goal and again the youngster did not disappoint with a composed finish into the net.

Gresley knocked on the door a few times in the second half, but the closest they came was midway through when a Phil Massingham long range effort flashed narrowly wide of the upright.

Sullivan made way for Gary Hay and it was the substitute who almost netted within three minutes of his introduction, forcing Hateley into a low save, kicking away Hay’s effort at the near post.

With six minutes remaining, the Moat Men set up a possible grandstand finish when Michael Nottingham netted from close range.

Ryan Price tipped over a Marc Goodfellow effort as Gresley pushed for an equaliser, but it was Chasetown who wrapped up the game with a third goal in the second minute of injury time. The Scholars counter-attacked quickly on the Derbyshire side and Nick Wellecomme’s strong run into the opposition half just required a well-timed pass to Hay who finished smartly.

Gary Hay makes it 3-1 to Chasetown at Gresley. Pic: Dave Birt

Gary Hay makes it 3-1 to Chasetown at Gresley. Pic: Dave Birt

If that was the icing on the cake for Chasetown, a fourth goal two minutes later was the cherry on the top as Hay netted again with a shot beyond Hateley’s right hand from just inside the penalty area.

Perhaps the 4-1 scoreline suggested that Chasetown thrashed their opponents but there was no question that the three points were fully deserved, and with five wins out of six league games in March, and with four of the next five league games at home, The Scholars have given themselves every chance to sneak into the play off positions.

Gresley FC: Hateley, Walker, Gough, Strzyzewski, Nottingham, Holmes, Barrett, Rathbone (Lyons, 70 mins), Hanslow (Goodfellow, 56 mins), Turville (Massingham, 70 mins), Nadat. Subs not used: Cox, Langford.
Chasetown: Price, Farmer, Jackson, Slater, Tesfa Robinson, Teesdale, Brown (Westwood, 63 mins), Bragoli, Wellecomme, Sullivan (Hay, 78 mins), Theo Robinson, Subs not used: Downes, Gould, Kisiel.

Click below to see more of Dave Birt’s pictures from the game:

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