Derby day was upon us as league leaders Chesterton faced Siddington FC at their shared ground in the Siddington Playing Fields on Saturday.
After a thumping 10-1 victory in the reverse fixture, Chezzie were confident of another victory but looked to improve on their recent slow starts.
The early signs looked good for the home side as they came out firing on all cylinders from kick off, battling hard for every ball and applying the pressure from the first minute.
This high pressure, fast-paced football yielded countless opportunities to take an early lead, with excellent work from wingers Ashley Rockley and Joe Stratford seeing numerous dangerous crosses flash across the Siddington six-yard line.
Unfortunately for the claret and blues, however, these opportunities lacked that final touch to steer the ball into the net to grab that early lead.
With the majority of possession comfortably in Chesterton control, it looked a tall order for the away side to get anything from this game.
However, in the 35th minute, against the run of play, it would be Siddington that grabbed the opening goal as a long hopeful ball forward caught the defence out, leaving the Siddy striker onside and through on goal to make it 1-0.
After going behind unexpectedly so late in the first half, Chesterton knew how important it was to respond before the break.
Even more relentless now in their approach, the hosts pushed deeper into the final third but, with Siddington getting bodies behind the ball, they proved difficult to break down and looked favourites to end the half 1-0 to the good.
However, a lack in concentration as the visitors tried to play out from the back saw them give the ball away cheaply to the waiting George Peare who made no mistake in slotting the ball past the keeper for an important equaliser, 1-1.
As the second half got underway, there was only one thought in the players’ minds, ‘start this half as we ended the first’, and they did just that.
In the 47th minute, the pressure from Chezzie forced the visitors to play back to the keeper and a slice of luck went the host’s way.
As the ‘keeper set himself to control the ball, he took his eyes off it for a split second and, at that moment, it took a horrible bobble. The end result saw the ball dribble into the back of the net for a second Chezzie goal.
With the scoreline tight and the away side believing they didn’t deserve to be behind, they fought hard for an equaliser and came close when a set piece was delivered in towards the back post. However, the unmarked Siddington put his free header narrowly wide.
This was a massive let-off for Chesterton but also an important wake-up call.
In search of a third, to ensure there was no danger of dropping points, Chezzie went back on the attack and regained control of the game.
In the 70th minute, the hosts had an opportunity from a corner taken by Rockley. After the initial delivery was dealt with well, the ball was contested by the returning James Moorcroft who headed to Danny Bishop. The prolific centre back did not hesitate, volleying into the back of the net to make it 3-1.
With the wind knocked out of the Siddington sails, the win was all but confirmed for Chesterton, and they even had the opportunity for one more.
Once again, from a corner, George Peare would latch onto the attempted Siddy clearance and head the ball back towards goal where Bishop was ready to pounce and help the ball across the line.
This rounded off the final 4-1 scoreline with just five minutes left on the clock.
MOTM: Ashley Rockley