Chasetown 4 Hucknall Town 0
Visiting keeper Alex Mallong was the hero for the league’s basement club with a string of fine saves to keep the scoreline down.
Chasetown had a point to prove after their 5-1 reverse in midweek, but came into this game unbeaten in the league in 2013 against a side that had lost 13-0 and 6-1 in the New Year and whose problems were well documented.
Chasetown were at the races from kick off and deservedly took the lead after just 10 minutes when Simon Brown crossed from the right, Gary Hay dummied the ball through his legs and Nick Wellecomme could not miss from close range – his tenth league goal and twelfth of the season so far.
Mallong made the first of his many saves with a superb double stop in the 20th minute – first, diving full stretch to his right to deny Hay and then, from the rebound, he recovered brilliantly to keep out Wellecomme from what looked like a certain goal.
The Scholars doubled their advantage in the 27th minute. Hay went round the keeper inside the penalty area only to be tripped by Mallong’s left hand. With a covering defender in proximity, Referee Mr Crawford issued Mallong with just a yellow card and Brown fiercely drove the penalty straight down the centre into the roof of the net for an unstoppable kick, for the tenth goal if Brown’s debut Scholars season.
Mallong, who had last appeared at the Scholars Ground for Rothwell five years ago, was making many friends amongst the Chasetown supporters, who couldn’t help but sympathise with Hucknall’s recent plight. The visiting number 1 made a low save to deny Hay from an Andrew Westwood cross, and then Wellecomme missed a great chance from 3 yards, putting a header wide when most in the ground would’ve expected a second goal for the Scholars Number 9.
Eight minutes before the break there was even a cameo attack from centre back Chris Slater who brought the ball forward from midfield and just kept going, beating three or four players before chipping a cross to the far post as the whole crowd waited to see if he could add to his two goals in 379 appearances!
Wellecomme was perhaps trying too hard knowing there were goals in the game for him and hit the post five minutes before the break, before a second half where Wellecomme would perhaps, on another day, scored a double hat-trick.
The half ended with Richard Teesdale thundering an effort just wide and returning Chase keeper Matt Sargeant a virtual spectator.
Gary Hay added a third goal 6 minutes into the second half and the one-way traffic continued, although Sargeant was called upon to make a couple of straightforward saves from long range efforts.
Wellecomme dragged one shot inches wide of the upright and saw Mallong keep out effort after effort, before Mallong’s luck finally ran out six minutes from time when Hay saw his shot deflected past a stranded Mallong.
Wellecomme flicked a header a whisker wide and substitute Daniel Dubidat troubled the Hucknall custodian with a shot just outside the penalty area.
Updated 19:01 - 14 Jan 2018 by Paul Mullins