Chasetown stay ahead in play off race
A late goal from Nick Wellecomme maintained Chasetown’s advantage in the race for the play off places, writes Paul Mullins.
Just seven minutes from time, a corner from substitute Harry Harris was mishandled by home keeper Robert Zand, dropping the ball at the feet of Wellecomme who took a couple of touches to take the defenders out of the equation before firing home, prompting an eruption of emotions from the visiting supporters, making up probably half of The Hawthorns attendance.
Winning ugly was the order of the day for The Scholars who only fashioned two attempts on target – one, a weak effort easily saved by Zand and the other being the goal itself.
The game may have been shy on goalmouth action but it wasn’t without its big moments.
The first came in the 49th minute when Scholars’ frontman Paul Sullivan tangled with a Brigg player near the touchline which resulted in Lee Butler lashing out and receiving a red card for violent conduct. The Brigg player Mark Dudley escaped the incident with just a yellow card.
The Zebras side had the ball in the net midway through the second half – a ‘goal’ tinged with controversy. The linesman flagged for offside, Chase keeper Ryan Price stopped, but Brigg proceeded and Bruno Holden netted, and the linesman put his flag down. Price and his team mates pointed out that the flag had been raised and, after some consultation with his assistant, Referee Mr Dwyer awarded the offside.
Prior to the goal, Sullivan had come the closest to giving Chasetown the lead when Brigg defender Chas Fisher lost possession allowing the Chase Number 10 a clear run at goal, chipping Zand but narrowly clearing the crossbar.
In truth, despite the aerial threat from numerous set pieces, Price was rarely troubled in the Chasetown goal while opposite number Zand was equally redundant for large periods of the game.
With Halesowen and Sutton Coldfield winning, Chasetown remained 5th on goal difference though became heartened at news that fourth-placed Stamford had been beaten at home, allowing the Scholars to go level with 4th place with one game to play.
Other than the red card for Butler, the euphoria of dramatic late win was dampened by the loss of Andy Westwood ten minutes into the second half with a broken wrist.
Chasetown: Price, Slater, Jackson, Westwood (Downes, 55 mins), Tesfa Robinson, Teesdale, Smith (Harris, 75 mins), Bragoli, Wellecomme (Hay, 90 mins), Sullivan, Butler
Other subs: Theo Robinson, Farmer (not used)