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Dramatic finale sees Chasetown FC secure play-off spot

On a day when Chasetown needed a win to guarantee their play-off place, a draw was enough thanks to a last minute penalty in the game between Sutton Coldfield and Leek Town.

Danny Smith slides in to make a tackle. Pic: Dave Birt

Danny Smith slides in to make a tackle. Pic: Dave Birt

During 90 minutes of final day action, all four clubs competing for the final two play-off places – Stamford, Chasetown, Sutton Coldfield and Halesowen – had a spell inside the crucial spots.

Quite simply, the events off the field via social media sites were probably more dramatic than the events on it at Coalville.

In a rather sedate first half, the league’s second placed side came closest to opening the scoring with an Anton Astley shot which rattled the Chasetown post.

The Scholars’ best efforts came from a powerful Danny Bragoli free kick and a Richard Teesdale header on the stroke of half-time, both competently gathered by goalkeeper Chris Gibson.

As the whistle blew, news came through that Chasetown were up to fourth with Mickleover leading Stamford.

Sutton fell a goal down to Leek but in a matter of minutes, Chasetown dropped from fourth to seventh as first Coalville took the lead and then Sutton levelled at home to Leek.

Coalville’s goal came in the 59th minute following neat approach work from Dave Leigh and Astley, teeing up substitute Ryan Robbins who fired across Ryan Price into the corner of the net.

There was a moment of controversy as Chasetown were denied an equaliser. Substitute Theo Robinson was caught by a defender as his pass reached Paul Sullivan whose snap effort came back off the post, but claims that the foul on Robinson should have been a penalty fell on deaf ears.

Stamford had levelled at Mickleover, so Chasetown knew with Sutton level, a draw would actually be enough. In truth though, the Scholars looked laboured after a very hard season and a goal really didn’t look likely. The closest they had come in the second half was an effort from Chris Slater, skipper for the day in his 400th appearance, which had Gibson stretching to his left.

Sam Carline heads into his own net. Pic: Dave Birt

Sam Carline heads into his own net. Pic: Dave Birt

In the 76th minute though, it was perhaps the most likely source of an equaliser as Paul Sullivan’s cross from the right was headed into his own net by Sam Carline trying to clear for a corner.

That goal lifted Chasetown back into fifth for all of three minutes as news broke that Sutton had taken the lead against Leek, pushing Craig Harris’ men back into sixth.

From being desperate for one goal, the visitors were in need of another one and there was noticeable tension and resignation amongst the strong Scholars following.

Halesowen were cruising to victory but were out of the picture on goal difference if Chasetown held onto a draw or Sutton held on for a victory.

The away supporters were screaming for a winning goal until news came through of a penalty at Coles Lane. Dozens of supporters gathered around the phone as news came through that Dan Shelley had scored for Leek and Chasetown were back in the top five.

The whistle blew at Sutton, with Chasetown needing to ensure they didn’t concede during five minutes of stoppage time – an achievement they managed to earn themselves a play-off game, ironically, at Coalville on Bank Holiday Monday.

Coalville Town:
Gibson, Maddison, Astley (Carney, 72 mins), Kay, Powell, Everitt, Janno, Carline, Hill, Murdock (Robbins, 55 mins), Leigh. Subs not used:
Chasetown: Price, Farmer, Jackson, Slater, Tesfa Robinson, Teesdale, Smith (Harris, 84 mins), Bragoli, Wellecomme, Sullivan, Butler (Theo Robinson, 55 mins). Subs not used: Downes, Branch, Kisiel.

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

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