Ash United 1 Chertsey Town 2
Chertsey Town rarely visit Ash United and depart without experiencing a full-on encounter.
On paper, Chertsey shaded the win, and although the one-goal margin might, and perhaps should, have been much bigger, the home side will rue two missed chances to snatch away Town’s ninth consecutive win.
Chertsey’s line up almost picks itself these days but there were two changes from their last outing ten days previous with Mark McGibbon in for Andy Crossley, plus a straight central defender swap with Simon Cox coming in for the now departed Jack Francis.
Possession of the ball was fiercely contested but not much in the way of decisive passing and openings was evident at the start.
The playing surface was still recovering from being played upon in the pouring rain the previous week and did not provide much incentive for flowing football.
However, there were a few golden moments, but they came later in the contest.
Tom O’Regan had some success and although he frequently made good progress on the right flank in the first half, he was shut off by constantly having two or three defenders on his case. The space this created was not fully exploited and the Ash goal remained intact.
There was still no sniff at goal from either side but, without warning, the home side took the lead.
The success was generated from the right wing with a high cross that came into the Chertsey goalmouth where Brad Smith won the aerial battle and firmly headed the ball home in the 19th minute.
Dean Papali was the closest Chertsey player to make any first half reply when a low O’Regan cross was flicked from the near post to skid past the far post with only inches separating success and failure.
Ash really should have doubled their lead on 36 minutes when the Chertsey defence found themselves out numbered.
The ball was worked to Karl Dullaway right in front of goal but he mishit his strike and a very sticky moment was survived.
The same goal frame was violated, however, after a further ten minutes of football.
But of course, the interval break had intervened so it was the Chertsey side that did the job and returned the scoreline to evens.
The goal came in the 49th minute after a magic run from Danny Bennett. He cut in from the left and delivered an undefendable ball, leaving Phil Page to turn it in from less than a yard out.
Chertsey played with a certain relentlessness throughout the second half but play was frequently stopped.
Lengthy lectures for offences slowed up a momentum that Town was keen to maintain.
Marcus Moody fired in a shot straight at Arjuna Adlam in the Ash goal as Chertsey continued to look very interested .
Although their tackling was sound, Town did not look entirely confident in defence so it was as well that their forward play continued to play with a vibrancy that created a second Chertsey goal.
It came on the hour and was another that was knocked in from a distance measured in inches rather than yards.
Another cross from the left, this time by Phil Page, ripped open the Ash defence.
The ball might have entered the net without further assistance but Bennett was on hand to make sure.
The visitors might have felt that the tide of the game had now run firmly in their favour but the current changed in an instant on 67 minutes when a misdirected pass in Chertsey territory set up a thrust against an exposed Craig Bradshaw in goal.
He was forced into a desperate challenge as he tried to force the Ash United forward wide.
The collision rightly resulted in a penalty kick, and rightly resulted in a yellow card, one of the few that were actually merited on the night.
James Blason took the kick but in his determination to burst the back of the net contrived to power the ball wide and so Town lived again.
The two Wycombe Wanderers boys, Lee Weemes and Miles Smith, were also introduced from the bench and adapted quickly but the new blood was unable to stop another chance being created by Ash.
A shot was delivered but not of sufficient quality to beat Bradshaw leaving Chertsey with the last word when Crossley forced a finger tip save from Adlam off a Smith feed, moments before the last whistle of a lively evening that gave the visitors another three points.
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