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Robinson double act fires Chasetown FC into the play-off final

Tesfa Robinson puts Chasetown in front from close range. Pic: Dave Birt

Tesfa Robinson puts Chasetown in front from close range. Pic: Dave Birt

Chasetown won their play-off semi-final but had to hold on more than they would have liked against the ten men of Coalville having missed a couple of gilt-edged chances to clinch the game.

The Ravens made four changes from the weekend league match, while Chasetown made just one, with Theo Robinson in for Lee Butler.

In a much more entertaining game than the league affair two days earlier, both sides exchanged chances at goal early on. Inside the first minute, recalled Coalville skipper Cameron Stuart fired a free kick a matter of inches over the crossbar. Then, Ant Carney teed up Saturday’s scorer Ryan Robbins who fired over the bar before heading wide a Liam Kay cross.

Chasetown striker Paul Sullivan created a chance for himself before pulling his shot wide of the post, before Craig Harris’ men took the lead in the 20th minute.

Theo Robinson’s pace took him beyond Danny Jenno and he burst inside the penalty area. Defender Josh Hill tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick but Robinson managed to keep it in and while Coalville’s back line stopped to appeal that the ball had crossed the line, the winger chipped the ball up into the six yard box where Tesfa Robinson looped a header into an unguarded net.

Sullivan limped out with a leg injury almost certainly ruling him out of Friday’s final, with Butler coming on down the right wing with Danny Smith moved into a more advanced role.

Chasetown searched for a second and Nick Wellecomme went close, before a Theo Robinson cross just needed a touch in the six yard box to double the away side’s advantage.

Keeper Ryan Price made a low save to keep out Carney and a minute before half-time made a fingertip save to keep out another effort from the same player. However, from the resultant corner, despite appeals for offside, Coalville drew level through Jerome Murdock from close range.

After the break, Sam Carline who scored the play-off clinching own goal for The Scholars two days earlier, headed a whisker wide as Coalville looked to take the lead.

The game took a huge swing towards Chasetown eight minutes after the interval when Smith burst clear over the half way line and was sent to the ground by Jenno. The referee had no hesitation in handing the right back his second yellow card to leave his side with ten men for the remainder of the game.

Theo Robinson scores Chasetown's winner against Coalville. Pic: Dave Birt

Theo Robinson scores Chasetown’s winner against Coalville. Pic: Dave Birt

The advantage was instantaneous. From the resulting free kick, Richard Teesdale headed into the path of Butler who whipped the ball across goal and Theo Robinson half volleyed beyond Chris Gibson.

Unbelievably, Chasetown should have had a hat-trick of Robinson goals when Teesdale headed back across goal and somehow Tesfa Robinson scooped the ball over the bar from less than two yards when it seemed certain he’d extend the lead.

Despite being a man short, a neutral would have thought it was Coalville who had the advantage as a tired looking Chasetown side were pegged back by the Leicestershire outfit that now had nothing to lose. Robbins whipped the ball across the penalty area and to the visitors’ relief no-one got a touch.

Even though their territorial possession was better than Chasetown’s, it was the visitors who had more than one opportunity to wrap up the victory. Wellecomme’s curling cross was met by a powerful Teesdale header which had Gibson beaten but also squeezed past the upright.

Theo Robinson was giving Stuart a tough ride, but it was at the other end that found Chasetown’s outstanding man of the match, full back Jack Farmer, in imperious form in his 100th appearance for the club.

Wellecomme was denied a match-clinching third Scholars goal when his looping header over Gibson saw the referee blow up for a foul.

If Chasetown were unlucky with that decision then Lady Luck certainly wore blue in the dying moments when Robbins crossed for sub Dave Leigh who saw his effort hit Price, himself and then the crossbar.

Chasetown's supporters celebrate. Pic: Dave Birt

Chasetown’s supporters celebrate. Pic: Dave Birt

The Scholars can now look forward to a play-off final at Stamford on Friday (May 10).

Coalville Town: Gibson, Jenno, Stuart, Miveld (Leigh, 83 mins), Hill, Kay, Maddison (Powell, 59 mins), Carline (Way, 55 mins), Carney, Murdock, Robbins. Subs not used: Astley, Everitt.
Chasetown: Price, Farmer, Jackson, Slater, Tesfa Robinson, Teesdale, Smith, Bragoli, Wellecomme, Sullivan (Butler, 25 mins (Downes, 65 mins)), Theo Robinson. Subs not used: Branch, Harris, Kisiel.

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

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