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Sub Theo Robinson’s strike ensures FA Trophy triumph for Chasetown FC

Jack Farmer doesn't hold back in his challenge. Pic: Dave Birt

Jack Farmer doesn’t hold back in his challenge. Pic: Dave Birt

A classic game of two halves saw Chasetown FC beat Rugby Town in the FA Trophy to earn a tie against Redditch United in a fortnight’s time.

Craig Harris’ men could not have wished for a worse start. With just four minutes on the clock, Ryan Price made a splendid save to deny Sam Youngs, but from the resuling corner Rugby skipper Alex Gudger headed home unchallenged.

There was no question that the visitors were on top and Justin Marsden fired over the bar from outside the area, before he again tested Price from range only to be kept out by another high quality save from the Chasetown stopper.

The Scholars were very much clinging on in the game and created only one chance of levelling the score. Paul Sullivan broke into the penalty area and flashed an effort across goal that Niall Cooper was equal to, flinging himself to his left to concede a corner.

A revitalised Chasetown came out in the second half, coinciding with the introduction of Lee Butler as a substitute. It took them just eight minutes to get back on level terms. He may not have marked his first full appearance with a goal, but loan striker Danny Griffiths certainly made an impact. He cut in from the left to battle past defenders before sliding the ball into the path of Sullivan, who turned sharply and drilled the ball home.

Paul Sullivan scores the equaliser for Chasetown. Pic: Dave Birt

Paul Sullivan scores the equaliser for Chasetown. Pic: Dave Birt

The goal swung the momentum of the tie and it began to look more and more likely that it would be Chasetown who would net the decisive goal.

But when it did come, there was a touch of good fortune about the start of the move that eventually brought about the winning striker. Danny Bragoli was looking to pick out a pass to the inside left channel, but a ricochet off Town midfielder Richard Blythe fell kindly into the path of Simon Brown inside the right hand touchline. The Chasetown man produced an inch perfect cross for sub Theo Robinson to head past Cooper.

Theo Robinson heads home the winner. Pic: Dave Birt

Theo Robinson heads home the winner. Pic: Dave Birt

Not surprisingly, the visitors were not going to take the score lying down and David Kolodynski forced Price into another impressive save to preserve the slender lead. Then, when a Chasetown move broke down in midfield, Rugby had men over as they attacked before Grant Beckett’s tackle to perfection inside the penalty box to clear the first danger and Jack Farmer blocked the follow up.

The Scholars – who have won at least one FA Trophy game in every year they have competed since they debuted in 2006 – had Price to thank for that record being preserved.  It appeared that Kolodynski’s chip at goal had beaten the Chase keeper, but he back-pedalled to fingertip the ball over the bar.

Harris’ men now travel to Redditch United in the competition on October 19.

Chasetown: Price, Forde, Beckett, Farmer, Tesfa Robinson, Jephcott (Butler, HT), Brown, Bragoli, Griffiths (Wellecomme, 78mins), Sullivan, Downing (Theo Robinson, 68 mins). Subs not used: Keenan, Watson.
Rugby Town: Cooper, Myles, Kelly, Rowley, Gudger, Youngs, Spencer (Moses-Garvey, 72mins), Blythe, Kolodynski, Lake-Gaskin, Marsden. Subs not used: Williams, Palmer, Bishop, Fabrice-Gnadja.

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

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