Town manage win without ‘keeper

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Hucknall Town defied the late withdrawal of goalkeeper Jason Fisher and having to play defender Rob Austin in goal as they overcame Chasetown 3-2 at Watnall Road on Saturday in Division One South of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.

The Yellows should have taken the lead within 30 seconds, Evan Garnett allowed to run at the Chasetown backline before firing over a cross that Julian Topliss didn’t connect properly with and the chance went begging.

Hucknall’s midfield were working well together as they tried to keep the ball away from Austin in the home goal with skipper Lee McNulty leading by example showing great determination for the Yellows.

Gary Hay had the first chance for Chasetown on ten minutes as he was put through by Mark Branch but the striker rushed his shot and the ball ended up wide.

Alex Ford, whose height looked like it could cause problems for the visitors, saw his flicked header go wide from Jamie Brown’s free-kick and for the visitors Gary Hay and Daniel Smith combined well before Smith toe poked over.

It was no surprise that the Yellows opened the scoring in the 33rd minute from a long throw. Rob Paling launched the ball into the six yard box, McNulty flicked on and Ford had the task of heading home from five yards.

Chasetown started the second-half brightly and Tyrone Clarke O’Connell blazed over before Aaron Large saw his 20 yard curler land in the visiting keepers hands.

Chasetown then won a free-kick on the edge of Hucknall’s penalty box. Mark Branch stepped up and curled his effort past the wall but Austin flung himself to his right to produce a great save.

The Yellows went into a two-goal lead as Ford held the ball up well before releasing Topliss who got in front of his marker before neatly sliding the ball past Chasetown keeper Lee Evans.

Within a minute Chasetown were back in the game, as set up Clarke O’Connell to head home.

Chasetown pressured but the Yellows’ third came with four minutes to go, as Ford powered home a header from Paling’s cross.

Hay pounced to pull another back for the visitors to set up a frantic finale, and as the referee indicated a minimum of three added minutes Chasetown won a corner and skipper Richard Teesdale must have thought he had won a point for his side as he rose highest to power a header towards the far corner, but again stand-in keeper Austin flung himself to his right to keep the defender’s header out and the first home win of the season was secure.