Bookham 1 Chertsey Town 2
It was more of the same for Chertsey Town in their weekend visit to Meadowbank with bottom placed Bookham playing hosts.
It would be unfair to say there was scant showing of any sort of a well founded pedigree but the visitors controlled enough of the game to ensure victory but again did not press home their advantage with ruthless efficiency and gave their travelling supporters a few anxious moments during stoppage time.
There were issues in defence for Chertsey with full back Ollie Treacher having suffered from an accident at his work place.
Central defender Simon Cox had a leg injury and goalkeeper Craig Bradshaw sustained a foot injury which left him stomping around his goal looking with all the aplomb of Long John Silver.
Captain Marcus Moody also struggled for a while after being caught late and heavy early on but in typical style, ‘ran off’ the injury and played a full role.
Miles Smith made his first start for the side in place of Danny Bennett who later appeared off the bench as the eighteen players in the current squad are frequently mixed and matched week by week with little to choose between their respective effectiveness.
The dry spell of weather did little to present the pitch as a surface for quality football. That, added to the enviousness of the tight situation at the top of the table, combined to give a contest that relied more on effort than finesse.
Chertsey showed a notch or two more skill and noddle to overcome the conditions but still should have been out of sight come the final minutes.
Two one on one situations against Bookham’s Wayne Sturman in the second half were set up should and have sealed the game in style but Lee Weemes and Andy Crossley, at best with precision ball play, both stubbed the ball tantalisingly wide when goals looked odds on to reopen the two goal gap that had earlier been prised open but then narrowed.
Bookham too had a similar chance after only three minutes when David Francis slipped round the already struggling Cox near the half way line.
Bradshaw narrowed the angle but Johnson found out that the goalposts were closer together than he imagined as the ball drifted wide.
Chertsey showed limited attacking flair and it took until the 25th minute before creating a real scare for Bookham with Smith finding the upright and Sturman out of position.
But then Chertsey took the lead on 28 minutes. Tom O’Regan, playing deep in the middle of the park, thrust the ball forward for Phil Page to run some 30 yards in possession, round defender David Fuller and fire in.
The goal freed up Chertsey and play became more fluid. Bookham produced occasional bouts of attacking moments but their midfield approach work suggested far more promise than arrived in reality.
Chertsey were full value for their interval lead. Sound defending stopped any chance of any marauding emerging from the surrounding Surrey hills. Lloyd Boatang came on at the restart for the crocked Cox to make any sort of home reply even more remote.
But it was the attack that again caught the eye as the home penalty area was put under siege.
A minute before the hour mark recorded Chertsey’s second goal during this vibrant spell with a right wing cross coming in from Mark McGibbon.
The ball was partly deflected away but fell to O’Regan who accurately stroked it goalwards through a gap in the crowded area some sixteen yards out.
The game then seemed too far away for Bookham to make any impression but a lifeline was thrown only ten minutes later.
A penalty kick for hand ball was awarded after the ball was smashed at goal with Boatang only two yards away with his hand below his waist.
The harsh decision gave substitute James Piercy the job of sending Bradshaw the wrong way from the spot and setting up a potential banana skin for Town to make a late slip up.
The fall never came and although a nervy last ten was experienced when the home side catapulted the ball into the Chertsey penalty area with more hope than expectation as play moved up field.
But it was Town that came even closer at increasing the game’s goal tally, especially when Bennett showed tremendous ball skills in skipping through.
Although he wrong footed Sturman at the last he elected to clip the ball inside instead of finishing off himself and the chance to lower manager Spencer Day’s blood pressure during stoppage time was declined.
The boss was quickly in a relaxed mood however, as soon as the final whistle blew, in the knowledge that his side had regained the top spot after Guildford City dropped points again.
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