It was Derby Day on Saturday and another away match for Chesterton. However, this weekend came with a twist as the league leaders took on Siddington FC at their shared home ground, Siddington Playing Fields.
After maintaining their unbeaten run in the GFA County Cup last week, the ‘visitors’ were focused on the game ahead and fully prepared for a tough and physical battle against their neighbours.
In the opening five minutes of the encounter, the away side were already showing their intent. playing high tempo possession football and giving the opposition very little to work with.
Soon after, in the sixth minute, the visitors found the early breakthrough when George Peare, after seeing his initial effort blocked, tucked away the rebound to make it 1-0 to the men in claret.
Moments later, after some neat passing between stand-in keeper Dan Jones and the back three, the ball would arrive at the feet of Kieran Jones at centre-back, who delivered a long, driven pass to Peare. Now one-on-one with the keeper, Peare would commit his opposing man before confidently rounding the keeper and slotting the ball into the empty net to double his side’s lead.
11 minutes in and Peare’s strike partner Josh Russell would get in on the action. After making some space for himself, he was picked out by Matt Lammond for an easy finish, putting the away side 3-0 up.
With the game firmly in Chesterton’s grasp early on, frustration was setting in for the home side and, in the 17th minute, a rash moment saw Siddington reduced to 10 men.
Despite already having a three-goal cushion, Chesterton decided to turn up the heat, utilising their man advantage, and they increased the scoreline to 4-0 when Lammond and Russell combined once again.
Soon after, in the 36th minute, Russell would complete the hat-trick. This time Danny Bishop grabbed an assist after picking out the striker to make it 5-0.
After a difficult few weeks in front of goal, Russell was in fine form this afternoon and, only a minute after securing his hat-trick, he grabbed his fourth of the day. Mitch Stone appeared on the left wing, delivering a low cross along the edge of the six-yard box that, after falling behind the run of Peare, would find its way to Russell to make it six for Chesterton.
With half-time fast approaching, the hosts were handed a rare glimpse of the Chezzie goal when a quick counter-attack down the right wing saw a high floated cross delivered to the back post. This was well met by the head of the Siddington striker but, unfortunately for the hosts, the effort came off the post and fell safely at the feet of a Chesterton defender.
Pleased with their first-half performance, Chesterton came out for the second period looking to inflict more damage in front of goal and it only took them until the 48th minute to do just that. Picking up where he left off from the first half, Joe Stratford continued to get the better of the Siddington full-back and was able to supply the cross that saw the on-form Russell grab yet another goal.
Seconds later and the pairing of Stratford and Russell were at it again as they combined in the 49th minute. The former supplied another great pass to the latter, who cleverly chipped the ball over the onrushing keeper, grabbing his sixth of the game.
Having conceded two early goals in quick succession and facing an insurmountable deficit, the hosts changed up their tactics and attempted to apply heavy pressure on the Chezzie men.
This new approach yielded a long-range opportunity for Siddington as they won a free kick mid-way into the Chesterton half. Up stepped Dec King to take the set piece. Driving a shot from over 30 yards, he found the back of the net after deceiving Jones with the swerve of the strike.
After a scrappy few minutes following the Siddington goal, Chesterton regained control and got back to business.
In the 69th minute, Russell was on hand again to score his seventh of the game when Lammond turned provider to tee up Russell for a simple finish. 9-1 to Chesterton.
With the game heading into its final stages, Chesterton found the time to grab one last goal and get the double-figure scoreline they were looking for.
In the 82nd minute, the opposition keeper fumbled possession after an initial save. The ball fell kindly to the feet of Tom Cox who touched the ball forward to the waiting Russell, who dispatched from close range.
This 10th goal capped an excellent performance from Chezzie, who performed to an extremely high standard on the day.
Special manager mentions must go to Dan Jones for stepping up as an emergency ‘keeper and putting in a solid performance, for Joe Stratford who caused the oppositions full back problems from start to finish and to Will Power who worked tirelessly in the midfield to break down the opposition and recycle the ball for Chesterton.
Also, praise from teammates and spectators was reserved for defender Danny Bishop, who showed his quality at the back, and Josh Russell for his composure in front of goal that saw him score eight goals – performances that earned the duo a joint man of the match for the week.
Man of the Match: Josh Russell and Danny Bishop