Chertsey Town 3 Colliers Wood United 0
Spectators entering the Alwyns Lane ground, exposed to a sullen cloudy January afternoon laced with a biting east wind, desperately needed heat and light.
Play generated heat in the first half with plenty of energy being burned off but all to little effect. However, light arrived after the break through far more efficient application which led to three well constructed goals for the home side.
It did seem that a sterile score line might be the order of the day as, by half time, only one good chance between two evenly matched sides, had been carved out in the first 45 minutes and neither side could find a way through.
No goals were on cue, but it was redolent of waiting in a queue for a London bus. Although nothing came trundling along for over an hour, patience was rewarded when three arrived within sight of each other.
A Chertsey treble blast killed off the game within a mere five minutes of devastation.
Before this, visitors Colliers Wood United arrived with confidence off the back of a county cup win over a strong AFC Wimbledon side.
In contrast, Chertsey Town were struggling to cobble up a reasonable defence. Jack Francis will not be seen in action for the remainder of the season.
Simon Cox was suspended. Ollie Treacher was off with the flu and Mark McGibbon was nursing a thigh strain. In midfield, Tom O’Regan was under the weather but agreed to start the game due to the shortages.
However, the reconstructed defensive ramparts, with Dominic Worthington as the central king pin, rallied to the cause in sufficient strength and ended up keeping a clean sheet.
It might have been Woods that created the one decent opening in the first half, almost a half hour into the game but they were then restricted to just one half a chance after the turnaround.
The lack of tension at the back might not have entirely convinced everyone in the ground that it was, ‘job done,’ but it was enough to create a platform for more expansive action at the other end of the track.
Colliers Wood United really should have taken the lead on 32 minutes on the first occasion either goal frame looked threatened, but Dan Hammond contrived to clip the ball over from within the Chertsey goal area off a right wing cross.
By then, Town were struggling again in the manpower department as 17 year old Andy Crossley had to be replaced in midfield by 18 year old Jack Leighton, after suffering from a bad knock on his ankle.
Town created one half chance for themselves before the break when a long clearance from goalkeeper Craig Bradshaw was captured, although under pressure, by O’Regan.
He turned to find space but his shot was off target. A blank interval score line looked likely to be more profound than just a scene setter.
O’Regan was replaced midway through the second half but only after making a big contribution to his side’s win. First a shot of his was saved by Dan Burnett between the Colliers Wood sticks.
Soon after, he delivered a raking pass to set Dean Papali motoring, but Papali drove into a cul-de-sac adjacent to the goal.
O’Regan then made the break through by picking up on a lose piece of defending and then launched a shot, low and straight, from 20 yards, to release the log jam.
The now free flowing Chertsey side went further ahead only two minutes later as Dan Bennett sliced his way through the opposition and fired the ball home at a sharp angle and with pace.
The home side were, by then, totally on top and brought the situation into starker relief with goal number three which arrived hard on the heels of number two.
With a diving header, Papali connected with a deep cross from the right sent over by Phil Page on 65 minutes. Page almost got one home himself during this frantic period but a goal line clearance by the head of a full back thwarted further success.
Chertsey had dominated the first half hour from the break but then inevitably relaxed little but their grip at the back was just as tight.
Colliers Wood tried to go on the offensive but only managed one outside chance of denting Chertsey’s armour.
Paul Bussetti took a stab at goal but Bradshaw was comfortably in command of the moment. Page almost capitalised on a late error by centre back Ben James but his shot was defected wide, winning only a corner.
It mattered little though for the game had already been comfortably secured by a Chertsey side that, with only one of the other top six chasers winning, edged their way back towards contention for the title.
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