Chequers lost their unbeaten record against AFC in dramatic fashion in a friendly match last night.
The Greens once again lined up in their preferred 4-4-2 formation, and welcomed back long-term injury victim Tom Tracy to the starting XI to partner Tom Smith in the centre of midfield. AFC started the game the brighter of the two teams and looked particularly dangerous out wide, although Chris Wills and Karl Davies kept crosses into the box at a minimum. The first real chance of note saw the AFC striker attempt to curl a shot into the bottom corner, but it was too close to Roullier who gathered with ease. AFC then created two excellent chances; first a whipped cross was headed straight at Roullier from close range, and then a partially-cleared corner was lashed over the crossbar from 16 yards as it seemed only a matter of time before the home side took the lead. However the long-awaited return of veteran Steve Condell helped Chequers get a better foothold in the game as his energy and industry caused problems for the AFC midfield. A flurry of substitutions included the arrival of legendary poacher Jon Onyon, and he didn't have to wait long before breaking the deadlock. It seemed his attempted cross had pushed Wayne Mardel too wide, however the winger was able to expertly cut the ball back to Onyon who confidently headed his side into a 1-0 half time lead.
Half time saw plenty more substititions, with Tom Trigg replacing Roullier in goal, and Roullier moving into midfield for the start of the second half. There was also an appearance for player-coach Enzo Sgambati which bodes well for the midfielder's recovery, and Luke Foster replaced Michael Ryan out wide.
The second half began in disastrous fashion for Chequers, as the unfortunate Tom Tracy inadvertantly gave the ball away in his own penalty area has he tried to play his way out of defence, and the striker skipped past a challenge before firing low past Trigg for 1-1. In truth, Chequers never really got going in the second half an numerous substitutions meant the team never really achieved any sort of flow. Trigg kept his side in the game with two good saves including a one-on-one which seemed a certain goal as the striker bore down on goal. As the half wore on there was an ugly confrontation between substitute Tim Warne and the AFC winger, with the latter appearing to stamp on Warne while he was on the floor. This seemed to galvanise Chequers somewhat, and they carved out four excellent opportunities to win the game. First, Dean Hinton was unable to beat the AFC 'keeper from Foster's lofted throughball, and then Foster himself was released one-on-one twice but was expertly tackled just as he was about to pull the trigger on both occasions. Foster then slid an inviting ball across the face of goal but it rolled frustratingly too far in front of Warne and out for a goal kick. A final set of substitutions saw Karl Davies replace Chris Wills at right back, and in injury time the comitted defender put in a late challenge that resulted in a free kick on the right of Chequers' penalty area. The AFC player whipped the ball around the two-man wall, and it slipped agonisingly through Trigg's gloves and nestled in the top corner to win the game for the home side.
Chequers would like to wish AFC the very best of luck in both of their upcoming cup finals.