Chesterton looked to continue their unbeaten run on Saturday afternoon with another away trip, this time against Minety FC. The match was played on a 3G artificial pitch that suited the fast-paced passing style of both teams.
The visitors lined up in their familiar 3-5-2 formation. In recent weeks this has been cemented as their most effective system based on the attractive, attacking football they enjoy playing.
Overall, it was a somewhat slow start for the visitors. There were a number of misplaced passes early on as they looked to stamp their authority on the game. However, they found themselves with an opportunity in the 8th minute from a corner.
Left-wing-back Tom Cox delivered a dangerous set-piece and, despite the host’s efforts to block the initial shot, the ball fell kindly to centre-back Danny Bishop, who rifled the ball into the back of the net from six yards.
Although Chesterton struggled to dictate the play in the way they are used to, they still created opportunities going forward. One of which came in the form of a penalty as Kieran Jones was brought down in the Minety box.
The responsibility would fall to striker Josh Russell who, despite placing his strike into the side netting, was unable to double the Chezzie lead due to a fantastic save from the opposition ‘keeper.
Despite this missed chance, the momentum stayed with the away side and they were encouraged to up their game.
Growing in confidence as the half went on, Minety struggled to find an answer to Chesterton’s pass-and-move style and found themselves unable to contain the creative midfield duo of Jones and Will Power. Both ran endlessly to win the ball in the centre of the pitch and worked possession well, playing simple triangles with the strikers.
Chesterton’s efforts were rewarded late in the first half when, in the 41st minute, Chesterton were awarded a second penalty of the day. This time, after the earlier miss, Power would step up to the spot to confidently slide the ball low into the bottom left corner.
Throughout the opening exchanges of the second half, there was more of a challenge posed to the visitors, after a change in formation and personnel saw an improved level of performance from Minety.
Chesterton responded with their own change, with Matt Lammond replacing holding midfielder Chris Linnell, who had battled hard for 60 minutes to protect the back line and chase down any loose balls in the middle of the park.
With the introduction of Lammond, it looked as though the visitors would finally find the breakthrough and record the third goal.
The ball was whipped into the box towards the head of in-form striker Peare. Despite the initial cross being cleared away, a clash of heads led to the referee awarding Chesterton a third penalty of the day.
Up stepped Power, again, who was confident after already dispatching from the spot earlier in the afternoon. However, he was unable to score his third goal of the season, denied by the Minety ‘keeper, who made an excellent save to his left. This left the hosts within two goals of Chesterton with 20 minutes, plus stoppages, still to play.
With the hosts still proving difficult to break down and the score sitting at a nervy 2-0, Chezzie would make another change in the 76th minute. On came Dave Seales, to replace Josh Russell, who had all but emptied the gas tank in his efforts to apply pressure to the Minety back line.
This change had the desired impact as Seales would go on to assist Cox in the 80th minute. After beating his opposition defender, Cox fired a sweet strike from the edge of the box that thundered in off the near post, making it 3-0 to the visitors.
Minety responded well to conceding a third and, just two minutes later, Chesterton ‘keeper Ryan Heaven was called into action. He was able to tip a well-struck long-range effort onto the post and was helped out further when Bishop cleared the ball upfield.
One final change for Chesterton saw centre-back James King replace a fatigued Tom Cox in the 85th minute to solidify the defence for the closing stages.
With 87 minutes on the clock, and having dealt with a last-ditch Minety attack, the visitors found themselves on the counter. After Peare picked up the ball just inside the opposition half, he drove towards goal, taking on two defenders before eventually unleashing a driven shot from just outside the box, beating the keeper low to his right.
Man of the Match: Will Power