A spirited 4-4 draw at Burscough was not enough to save Chasetown from relegation from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division.
With the side knowing that only a win would do to keep them safe irrespective of other results, all-out attack was the only option while the pressure was off the home side whose relegation was already confirmed. A hugely entertaining match was the result, but it would prove a case of “so near yet so far” for the Scholars.
After only six minutes the basement club were in front when a cross bounced off Chris Slater and James Rushton-Woods fired a shot home to increase Chasetown’s relegation worries.
The hosts doubled their lead in the 22nd minute when Will Jones came out on top in a one-on-one with Scholars keeper Lee Evans and slotted a left-footed shot into the corner of the net.
It looked as though the Scholars were well and truly up against it but two goals in three minutes changed everything. On 39 minutes a Courtney Pitt corner was deflected in off defender Anthony Glover and two minutes later Dean Perrow turned inside the box and sent a right-footed shot in off the far post to give Chasetown renewed hope of survival.
Seven minutes into the second half Ben Whitcombe handled the ball on the line and Chasetown were awarded a penalty, Mark Branch stepping up to send home keeper Tim Horn the wrong way and put the Scholars into the lead in a sensational turnaround.
Their lead would last for just one minute however; as a cross evaded Richard Teesdale in the Scholars defence and Jones lobbed home his second goal over Evans.
On 68 minutes Burscough were back in front when a Ryan Wignall cross was met by substitute Niall Cummins who headed past Evans into the net to continue a thrilling encounter.
This time the lead lasted just three minutes for the hosts before Scott Lycett headed across goal and Teesdale crossed back in to allow Gary Birch to side-foot home another equaliser at the near post.
Chasetown went all-out for goals in the closing stages and Perrow beat his marker with nine minutes to go to set up Birch whose shot went inches wide, but despite Danny Smith, Birch and Lee Wright all peppering Horn’s goal with chances in the dying minutes they could not find the target and sadly the Scholars were condemned to relegation.
Chasetown: Evans, Turner, M Branch, Slater, Hands, Teesdale, Smith (Wright, 77 mins), Lycett, Birch, Perrow (Quinn, 82 mins), Pitt (Bridgwater, 90 mins)
Other Subs: Degville, Birt (not used)