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Nick Wellecomme double sends Chasetown FC to cup semi-final

Nick Wellecomme's effort finds the net. Pic: Dave Birt

Nick Wellecomme’s effort finds the net. Pic: Dave Birt

Chasetown FC reached the semi-final of the Walsall Senior Cup – keeping their hopes alive on three cup fronts this season and extending their unbeaten run to seven games since Christmas.

An end-to-end first half saw goal chances a plenty with Chase keeper Ryan Price making two early saves to keep the Saddlers from taking the lead.  Firstly, Price palmed a Wes Rush effort over the bar from the edge of the area and then got down low to save from Kieran Morris.

The Scholars were up for this game though and Nick Wellecomme tested Shane Lewis with a zipping low shot which the Walsall keeper did well to push wide for a corner, while Jono Gould in his first start since a serious injury last April was causing the visitors all sorts of problems with his pace and fired a shot narrowly wide of the upright.

It was tit-for-tat as both sides strived for the opener.  Walsall number nine Danny Griffiths, who had been on loan at Chasetown, almost returned with a goal as he fired against the crossbar with Price beaten.  Then, Gould’s low shot looked like it had got a touch from Lewis onto the outside of the Walsall keeper’s right-hand post.

The home supporters were baying for a penalty as the half drew on as Paul Sullivan went down under a strong challenge from Ben George with referee Mr Bratt deeming sufficient contact with the ball to award a corner kick.

Luke Bottomer makes a tackle. Pic: Dave Birt

Luke Bottomer makes a tackle. Pic: Dave Birt

As the second half progressed, the experience in the Chasetown ranks began to take control over the Walsall youngsters and it was no surprise when they eventually took the lead.  A precise pass into the path of Wellecomme saw the experienced striker delicately lob the ball over the stranded Lewis.

Two minutes later, Wellecomme netted his second, reacting quicker than the visiting defence and keeper to steer a low shot under Lewis’ body.

Now in torrential rain, Wellecomme was denied a sensational five minute hat-trick as Lewis kept out a low shot, almost identical to the Chase striker’s second goal.

To Walsall’s credit, they kept playing the right way but a well-marshalled home defence restricted the Saddlers to long range effort on their way to the club’s eighth clean sheet of the campaign and now await their semi-final opponents which could include Sutton Coldfield (who are already into the semi-finals), Boldmere St Michaels and local rivals Rushall Olympic.

Chasetown: Price, Farmer, Beckett, Slater, Halsall, Teesdale, Bottomer (Stephens, 64 mins), Bragoli, Wellecomme (Bennett, 80 mins), Sullivan (Smith, 74 mins), Gould. Subs not used: Evans, Birt .
Walsall: Lewis, George, Henry, Heath, Preston, Christopherou (Bakayoko, 67 mins), McKenzie (Kinsella, 57 mins), Flanagan, Griffiths, Rush (Reid, 57 mins), Morris. Subs not used: Rowley, Jones.

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

 

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