Saturday’s action came in the form of Round 2 in the Gloucestershire FA County Cup as Chesterton travelled away to Down Ampney.
The visitors were confident going to this game having won their last four matches while scoring 27 goals and conceding none. However, these impressive stats didn’t translate into the cup clash as they displayed complacency and looked lethargic throughout the afternoon’s performance.
A slight change was made by managers Tim Bond and Jordan Stallard ahead of the game, seeing midfielder Kieran Jones slot into the back three alongside Dan Jones and Danny Bishop. However, this tactical adjustment did not have the desired effect as Chesterton struggled to dictate the game in midfield.
Adapting to this, Chesterton looked to their wide men for inspiration. They appeared to be getting the upper hand as they caused the hosts problems down the flanks, with the only saving grace for Ampney coming from a combination of fantastic goalkeeping and poor finishing from their opponents.
After squandering five or six clear-cut chances in front of goal, the visitors would finally find the breakthrough in the 27th minute. Aaron Perry whipped an inviting corner into the centre of the box where it would be met by the head of George Peare to make it 1-0.
Managers Bond and Stallard would have hoped this opening goal would settle the players and unlock the free-flowing, passing football they have demonstrated in previous weeks. However, they were disappointed to see their side resort to long balls up to the front men, only to be caught out by the offside flag or have their efforts mopped up by the home side’s defence.
After a below-par first half, the managers looked to make a half-time change. This saw a return from injury for centre-back James Moorcroft and a move into midfield for K. Jones – back into his familiar central role, in an attempt to restore that missing link for Chesterton.
The change looked to have the required impact early on as the visitors saw more of the ball in the middle of the park and even created two goal-scoring opportunities. Josh Russell tucked both into the back of the Down Ampney net but was disappointed on each occasion as his efforts were ruled out by dubious offside decisions.
With decisions going against Chesterton, combined with unexpected attacking pressure from the hosts, including two missed free kick opportunities, the visitors looked extremely nervy and resorted to lumping the ball forward, much to the annoyance of the Bond and Stallard.
With only minutes left on the clock and with Chesterton defending a nervous 1-0 lead, ‘keeper Ryan Heaven was called into action for the first time when a dangerous ball into the box from the home side was challenged for by captain D. Jones.
Under pressure from the Ampney striker, Jones was only able to redirect the ball towards goal and was relieved to see Heaven make an excellent reaction save low to his right, pushing the ball away to safety..
After this close call, Chesterton could breathe a sigh of relief. The final whistle went moments later to confirm their place in the next round of the cup against Soudley FC.
Man of the Match: Ryan Heaven