Big crowd welcome Chasetown home as weather hits NPL fixtures

By James Gordon

Chasetown made a winning return home in front of a bumper crowd of 1,842 in one of the few Northern Premier League games that survived the freezing weather on Saturday.

Only 11 of the 41 scheduled fixtures went ahead as planned, with six of those in the Midlands Division and the entire East Division programme wiped out.

After playing on the road at Boldmere St Michaels so far this season, Chasetown finally got to play on their new artificial surface at The Scholars Ground and they made it a day to remember, coming from behind to defeat Witton Albion 3-2.

Witton’s Harry Brazell scored the opening goal on the stroke of half time, but Chasetown hit back through John Atherton, Ryan Shaw and Sam Wilding, who struck the winner after Matthew Lowton’s equaliser.

Chasetown v Witton

Chasetown v Witton

Chasetown chairman Steve Jones said in his programme notes: “It’s been a hugely busy time for Chasetown Football Club and I hope that today you will see the end result of what has been years of hard work behind the scenes.

“I extend my sincere gratitude to each and every one of you for your unwavering patience and support during the initial phase of the 2023/24 season.

“It has been a somewhat disrupted start, but the resilience and commitment displayed by the club's spirit, our dedicated staff, players, and coaching teams have been nothing short of stunning.

“To those who made the extra effort to attend our home games at Boldmere, your commitment has not gone unnoticed.

Chasetown v Witton

Chasetown v Witton

“The anticipation for our new 3G pitch at The Scholars Ground has been well worth the wait. The pitch exceeds all expectations, and it represents a significant milestone for Chasetown FC.

“The foundations laid by the hard work of Mick Joiner and his team over the years have been integral to the club's solidity. The recent developments are a natural extension of that vision, ensuring that Chasetown FC remains future-proofed for years to come.

“With these enhancements, we can now proudly accommodate and nurture over 50 teams, providing a home for more than 750 men, women, boys, and girls.”

Chasetown’s win was one of only two games played in the West Division, the other seeing Leek Town go top of the table with a 3-0 home win over Hednesford Town.

Their three goals all came in the second half, scored by Rob Stevenson, Daniel Trickett-Smith and Thomas Carr.

In the Premier Division, none of the top eight were in action as all of their games fell foul of frozen pitches.

Marine and Ilkeston battled out a goalless draw on Merseyside, while Jacob Gratton pinched a late equaliser for Whitby Town away at Basford United.

FC United recorded a welcome victory, only their second in 10 games, as they won 3-1 away at Gainsborough Trinity.

A quickfire double either side of half-time from Jay Fitzmartin and Dontai Gabidon put them in command, only for Dylan Cogill to set up a frantic final 15 minutes until Paul Ennis sealed it late on.

In the Midlands Division, Lye Town closed the gap on the top two with a 2-0 win away at Shepshed Dynamo to lift them to third in the table.

The top two faced each other, as Harborough Town and Spalding United drew 0-0 and there was also a draw between Sporting Khalsa and Bedworth United.

There were plenty of goals in the other three games as both Boldmere St Michaels and Hinckley LR hit four on the road. St Mikes were 4-0 winners at Coleshill Town, and Tendai Daire’s hat-trick helped Hinckley to a 4-1 win at Rugby Town.

They were both bettered by Sutton Coldfield Town though, as they plundered seven at home with only one in response to defeat Gresley Rovers.

All of the games that were postponed in the Premier, East and West Divisions have now been moved to blank Saturdays in the schedule - March 9th for the Premier and February 10th for East/West.

Photos courtesy of Dave Birt

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