Cleethorpes Town 1 Chasetown 1
SCHOLARS TESTED BY PROUD OWLS
After the excitement of a win against second placed Alvechurch on Thursday, our next visitors were Chasetown. The Scholars needed the victory to make certain of a play-off berth, whilst Clee’s slim hopes would be boosted by the three points.
Young David Birch kept his place in goal for the Owls and we had a defence of Tim Lowe, Josh Lacey, Oli Donald and Matt Bloomer. The midfield consisted of Liam Davis, Jack Richardson, Alex Flett (captain) and Curtis Bateson. The in-form pair of Danny North and Brody Robertson completed starting XI.
It was a lovely afternoon at a sun-drenched Bradley and it was an all action opening as both sides tried to gain the early initiative. However, a pattern did not develop before the Owls had a real let-off in the 14th minute.
Keeper Birch left the safety of his area to attempt a clearance but was beaten to the ball by a visiting striker. It then appeared to cannon into the stopper’s raised hand. Most of the home faithful feared the worst but, after a lengthy consultation with his assistant, the referee opted for a stern lecture and a yellow card.
The resultant free-kick was blocked and Birch came to the rescue again 60 seconds later, when he was required to beat away a fierce shot.
No question that the visitors had been in the ascendancy but the Owls came to life in the 25th minute. A floated ball by Bateson picked out North but the dangerous striker was just offside. Moments later, the 25-goal man scuffed a shot at Curtis Pond and when he did find the net, once again the assistant denied the lively front man.
Keeper Pond did well to stop a Robertson effort after great quality from Bateson, as the home side had their best period of the half. However, it was Chasetown who grabbed the vital first goal in the 36th minute.
An attack by the visitors down the left flank was floated into the box. Nicholas Wellecomme rose highest to direct his header in off the post, to the delight of the sizeable away contingent gathered behind the goal.
A setback for the Owls but they did not lose heart and forced a couple of corners in the closing moments of the half.
HT Cleethorpes Town 0 Chasetown 1 (Wellecomme 36)
It was a totally different home side that emerged from the dressing rooms after the break. Wave after wave of attack forced the Scholars back and the equaliser arrived in the 54th minute.
Robertson got behind the defence in the inside right channel and, with a moment of time to steady himself, it was no surprise that he beat Pond to draw the Owls level. This was the tenth match out of the last 14 that the prolific striker had registered.
Clee were now in full cry and, with news filtering through that Stamford were losing, a win would put the play-off chase back in the Owls’ own hands. The woodwork was struck and Lacey rampaged forward to force Pond to dive low.
In the 65th minute, Robertson burst clear of the defence and looked set to complete the turnaround. His shot beat the flailing keeper but, as the crowd expected the net to bulge, it went agonisingly inches the wrong side of the upright.
Chasetown had been under siege but released the pressure with around 20 to play, when a quick break won them a dangerous free-kick on the edge of the box. However, whilst clearing the defensive wall, it sailed harmlessly a couple of yards over Birch’s crossbar.
Clee used all three subs in the closing stages, as they continued to throw the kitchen sink at the Scholars. On came Jon Oglesby, Marc Cooper and Loz McKay to replace Curtis Bateson, Danny North and Liam Davis respectively.
With time drifting away, a melee in the goalmouth nearly gave Clee the winner that their excellent second-half performance deserved but, not for the first time in the afternoon, the assistant spotted an infringement.
After five added minutes, the match finished even and the Owls were rightfully applauded off, with everyone appreciating what a tiring few days it had been for the squad.
FT Cleethorpes Town 1 (Robertson 55) Chasetown 1 (Wellecomme 36) Attendance: 245
A great second 45 but ultimately a little frustrating! A victory would have put our play-off hopes back into our own grasp but four unbeaten games inside 6 days is a fine achievement at Evostik level. Well done to all the players and management (and fans!)…
To clarify the situation, we now need the following to happen to finish sixth:
1) win our final four fixtures;
2) Gresley to avoid defeat at Stamford on Monday evening;
3) Stocksbridge Park Steels to get at least a point at Leek Town next Saturday.
We, of course, can only do our own part and the final week’s games are as follows:
Monday 23rd (7.45pm) Carlton Town – away (postcode: NG4 2QS)
Tuesday 24th (7.45pm) Lincoln United – home
Thursday 26th (7.45pm) Basford United – home
Saturday 28th (3pm) Stamford – away (postcode: PE9 1US)
As always, all support will be most welcome!
UP THE OWLS!