REPORT | Chasetown 3-1 Widnes
By Callum Chadwick
10-man Widnes beaten at Chasetown
Sean Myler was shown the first red card of his career as 10-man Widnes fell to a 3-1 defeat away at Chasetown.
Widnes had taken a 23rd minute lead when George Lomax netted his third goal since the turn of the year, but Chasetown replied 12 minutes later when James Askey headed home an equaliser.
Myler was then shown his second yellow card that left Widnes on the back foot and the hosts soon took the lead when Will Whieldon sensationally lobbed Owen Wheeler from 40 yards out.
Despite their one-man disadvantage, Widnes edged the second half and were deserving of at least a point for their efforts, but a late Thomas Hill strike sealed all three points for Chasetown.
Co-bosses Steve Akrigg and Kev Towey made six changes to the side beaten at home by Mossley last time out. Four of those were enforced with Phil Mooney and Mike Burke unavailable, while Danny Ventre (elbow) and Akrigg (knee) were ruled out through injury. Elsewhere, Jamal Crawford and Towey dropped to the bench.
Harry Brazel was handed a full debut in midfield alongside the recalled Myler and George Webster. Sam Sheen deputised at centre-half and Chris Lomax filled in at left-back in a makeshift defence, while Ben Hodkinson was restored to the starting line-up on the left of a front-three.
Widnes made a bright start with Niall Watson registering the game’s first shot on goal, blazing over after good work by Brazel.
Brazel then had a penalty shout turned down moments later. Chasetown keeper Curtis Pond made a mess of Jay Roberts’ slightly over-hit through-ball, appearing to trip Brazel as the former Runcorn Town man looked to capitalise. Instead, Brazel was bizarrely penalised for a foul on the Scholars shot-stopper.
Chasetown carried a threat on the counter-attack, going close when a moment of hesitation from Widnes keeper Wheeler presented Hill with an opportunity, only to direct his header off target.
Widnes took the lead midway through the half. A period of sustained pressure from the visitors paid off as Myler threaded a pass through to Lomax, who found the bottom corner on the turn with Pond well-beaten.
The Scholars looked to respond following the half-hour as a well-worked move as Whieldon played Hill in behind, one-on-one with Wheeler but Michael Grogan made a superb recovery to clear the striker’s goal-bound effort off the line.
From the resulting corner, Chasetown were level as Askey peeled away from Watson to power a header home despite the best efforts of Roberts on the line.
Widnes almost immediately restored their lead as Chasetown skipper Ryan Wynter gifted Brazel a gilt-edged opportunity but Pond stood firm to make a decent save.
Moments later, the game swung in Chasetown’s favour as Myler was shown a second yellow card in eight minutes by referee Mark Pearson after catching Danny Cocks with a sliding challenge.
With the team a man down, and short on personnel, Widnes went into damage limitation for the remainder of the half, but their plans were undone two minutes before the break.
The visitors conceded possession to Whieldon on the halfway line who advanced forward before spotting Wheeler off his line. The striker hit a stunning effort towards goal that left the Widnes custodian stranded as the ball floated into the back of the net.
Widnes looked to respond in the second half, but Chasetown were unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty 10 minutes after the interval when Webster and Cocks had a coming together in the area, but referee Pearson wasn’t interested.
Scholars substitute George Cater should have really added a third on the hour, but he wasted a glorious opportunity by bizarrely opting to attempt a backheel that spectacularly failed, allowing Wheeler to clear away the danger, with Chris Lomax standing firm to block the follow-up effort.
Widnes to their credit stayed in touching distance and were desperately unlucky not to have equalised midway through the half as both Grogan and Hodkinson had seemingly goal-bound efforts cleared off the line.
On-loan Crawford and Conor Ready – the latter available again after a four-month injury lay-off – were introduced from the bench as Widnes went in search of an elusive equaliser.
The visitors’ best chance came 13 minutes from time when Hodkinson raced clear with only Pond to beat, but the Chasetown keeper pulled off a great save to push the striker’s powerful volley away to safety.
Widnes threw everything but the kitchen sink at their hosts in stoppage time, but the Scholars sealed all three points as Hill tucked home at the second attempt after having an initial effort saved by Wheeler.