After four weeks without a game, the Chesterton AFC players were finally able to lace up their boots again as they took on local rivals South Cerney for the first time this season.

A crucial three points were on the line in this league fixture and the game had extra meaning as a number of the Chezzie men faced up against their former club.

The game was anticipated to be a tightly contested affair between the two sides and the first half proved to be exactly that.

Neither side managed to create any clear cut chances within the first 45 minutes as both teams demonstrated solid defending to break down any and all attacks.

The Chesterton back three of Dan Jones, Aaron Perry and Danny Bishop gave Cerney striker Nathan Littler few opportunities to stretch his legs in behind.

Although the away side seemed to be getting the better opportunities in the final third, they struggled to find that last piece of quality and centre-back Dan Warriner was on hand to intercept and clear any danger for the hosts.

After some strong words from the managers during the break, the visitors came out for the second half with a point to prove and instantly looked a different side.

With more attacking intent and creativity in possession, the Claret and Blues began to break down their resilient hosts and make them chase the ball. As Cerney’s legs looked to be tiring, gaps began to appear in the midfield for Chezzie to exploit.

However, against the run of play, a brief lapse in concentration and a misplaced pass saw an opportunity for the hosts to break away as a long ball over the top saw Littler closing the space down at speed.

Nonetheless, excellent positioning from Bishop saw him able to get between his man and the ball to draw a foul.

With this wake-up call for the away side, they turned it up a notch to avoid the result going against them.

In the 65th minute, some good work down the left from Ashley Rockley saw an opportunity to get the ball in the box. His cross was met by Josh Russell who glanced a headed effort over the keeper and onto the crossbar.

As the final whistle edged closer, managers Tim Bond and Jordan Stallard looked to make a tactical change asking wing-backs Rockley and Joe Stratford to switch flanks.

This had the desired impact as Rockley struck the post with a shot from outside the box just moments later.

Chesterton were now getting the better of the exchanges and looked almost certain to take the lead.

In the 82nd minute, they did just that when Russell received possession near the edge of the area. Finding the overlapping run of Stratford with a well-timed through ball, the winger struck low and hard across the keeper to make the scoreline 1-0.

Two minutes later and Stratford found success in front of goal again. This time, Bishop broke down the left wing before playing a ball through to the winger who took one touch before slotting the ball into the back of the next in identical fashion to his first effort.

With the desired result now all but confirmed, Chesterton decided to rub salt in the wound of the hosts by grabbing a third goal just before the final whistle.

Rockley, in possession on the right, dribbled past Cerney full-back Ross Sweetland before delivering a low cross to Russell who unselfishly played the ball on to his strike partner George Peare.

Peare was alert enough to beat the onrushing keeper to the ball and slot it past him in the 91st minute to round off a 3-0 scoreline.

Joint MOTM: Joe Stratford and Danny Bishop

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