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Nathan Waite earns Chasetown FC opening day victory over Leek Town

Chasetown FC kicked off the season with a win over Staffordshire rivals Leek Town in an entertaining game.

Both sides had chances in the first half and John Bateman had to be at his best to push away a chance from Tim Grice.

Dave Stringer’s men started brightly and Nathan Waite had a shot deflected over the bar before Chris Slater headed narrowly wide from an early corner kick.

The visitors twice went close to breaking the deadlock when Marc Strzyzewski headed off the line from Paul Sullivan and then threw himself in front of the rebound off  Lee Butler.

Leek started the second half the better side and forced Chasetown onto the back foot.  The ever-lively Grice, who always seems to net against the Scholars, raced onto a ball from the influential Dan Shelley, and a combination of Slater and Bateman denied the striker eight yards out.

At the other end, a quick break from Chasetown saw Sullivan tee up Lewis Rankin, but his header was straight at Chris Martin in the Leek goal.

So it was slightly against the run of play when the Scholars scored what proved to be the winning goal. Butler forced a corner with a dangerous cross, from which man of the match Francino Francis headed across goal and Waite produced an acrobatic overhead kick to beat the defenders on the line.

Former Leek defender Rhys Thompson almost doubled the lead for his new club, but Chris Martin flicked the ball over the crossbar.

Chasetown: Bateman, Thompson, Edwards, Slater, Francis, Brown, Butler, Davies, Waite (Wint, 83 mins), Sullivan (Hayden, 89 mins), Rankin (Gould, 61 mins). Subs not used: Lee, Griffiths.

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