As Christmas gets closer, Chesterton played hosts to Stratton United in what was the first meeting this season between the two sides and the host’s final home game of 2018.
With the poor weather becoming more frequent at this time of the year, the conditions were not ideal for the style of football that Chezzie like to play. However, this did not stop the men in claret as they went on to put on an attacking masterclass in an impressive 9-0 win.
The action got off to a lightning quick start as Chesterton went 1-0 up in the 2nd minute when a well-executed cross from Aaron Perry found striker George Peare at the back post. Peare intelligently steered the ball back across goal to captain Dan Jones, who tucked the ball away for the early lead.
The action was going all in the way of the home side in the opening stages but the score remained at 1-0 until the 21st minute.
After a Chesterton attack had seemingly broken down, a poor clearance from a Stratton defender fell the way of Will Power in a central position around 25 yards out. With the ball travelling at a nice pace along the floor, Power did not hesitate to unleash a first-time strike that flashed past the keeper into the top right corner, to make it 2-0.
After Power’s strike knocking the wind out of the visitor’s sails, it didn’t take long for the hosts to add a third.
In the 25th minute, Joe Stratford picked up the ball infield, he played a pass into the feet of Peare who touched it on first-time, deceiving the away defence and leaving Stratford with space to run into and leave him one-on-one with the keeper. 3-0.
11 minutes later, the win was all-but confirmed when Chesterton were awarded a free kick on the left wing, level with the 18-yard line. Power stepped up to take the set-piece, delivering a strike towards the far post that flew into the top right corner of the net.
The hosts found time for one more goal before the break. This time, in the 41st minute, Power would turn provider, albeit unintentionally, as he saw his strike from distance deflected in by striker Josh Russell, making it 5-0 going into the interval.
Throughout the second half, the aim for Chesterton was simple: maintain the clean sheet and increase the goal difference. The hosts would proceed to do the latter as, in the 51st minute, they added a sixth goal to their tally.
After some good defending by the hosts, the ball would be played out quickly to the feet of Power, who showed excellent vision to pick out Ashley Rockley with a first-time pass. With the opposition keeper in ‘no man’s land’, Rockley took one touch before lobbing the despairing ‘keeper from 25 yards out.
In the 54th minute, the hosts were on the attack again with a corner kick taken by Perry. The full-back delivered an inviting cross to the front post where it was met by the head of Peare who put it across the keeper into the far corner of the goal.
Soon after, Ryan Heaven was called into action unexpectedly. After spending the majority of the game as a spectator, the Chezzie keeper made an excellent save low down to his left after a rare Stratton attack, keeping the clean sheet alive.
In the 74th minute, Chesterton scored again when Rockley registered his second of the game. Rockley received the ball from Stratford after the winger’s clever back heel. Meeting this first time, the attacking midfielder’s strike flew past the opposition ‘keeper, extending the lead to eight.
Five minutes later, Power completed his hat-trick, rounding off an impressive day for the midfielder. After an initial Chesterton shot was blocked, he was first on the scene to capitalise and score his third of the game.
The final action of the game saw Heaven make another exceptional save. Again, diving low down to his left, he managed to get a hand to a Stratton effort that looked almost certain to be heading into the bottom corner.
This capped another excellent performance from Chesterton, in unfavourable conditions, that kept the club’s the unbeaten record intact.
Special mentions go to Jonny Barham, who didn’t stop running and showed incredible work rate in the midfield, and Joe Stratford, who tore apart the opposition left-back, earning the duo the join man of the match accolade.
Man of the match: Jonny Barham and Joe Stratford