Away league match played on 21 December 2014.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

Chequers ended 2014 with a Christmas cracker of a result, as they inflicted high-flying Chalton’s first home defeat of the season with a resounding 3-0 victory at Leagrave Park.

John Roullier took his place in goal behind a defensive four of Jon Onyon, Tom Tracy, Chris Fagan and makeshift right back Wayne Mardel. Neil Bishop and Rob Mardell formed a new-look central midfield behind strikers Dean Hinton and Michael Ryan.

The first quarter of the game was pretty attritional as both sides failed to create any chances of note, just Mardel’s dipping volley from 25 yards that narrowly evaded the Chalton crossbar. The home side then opened up Chequers through the channel, resulting in a striker dragging poorly wide from inside the box. Chalton exploited the same gap minutes later, but again the same player could not find the target as he blasted wide from 12 yards on the angle. The Purples (in their white away kit) should have notched the first goal on the half hour, but Hinton scooped the ball off target from close range when well placed in the area. That proved to be a warning shot however, as Neil Bishop arrived onto a perfect cross to steer home from the centre of the box for 0-1. Chalton pressed for an equaliser, and almost got it 5 minutes before the interval but for a goalline clearance by Onyon after the onrushing Roullier was lobbed. The defender wasn’t done there though, as he released Mardel on the right who in turn hit a brilliant 50-yard pass to Warne. The winger took a touch before steering the ball into the bottom corner to cap a fine counter-attack and make the score 0-2 at half time.

Chalton meant business in the second half as they looked to maintain their title challenge, and almost reduced the arrears on 50 minutes as a shot from the edge of the box clipped the outside of the post. Bishop then had a chance to double his tally for the day in a rare Chequers forray into Chalton’s final third, but his close range effort was off target this time. The home side were pressing very hard now, and Bishop and Mardell found themselves operating deeper in midfield as the Purples tried to soak up the rising pressure. They finally creaked at the back on the hour mark, in an incident which could, and perhaps should, have changed the course of the match. A Chalton corner was met with a looping header at the far post which was sailing into the net until Tracy stopped it with his hand, allowing Bishop to clear off the line. The referee instantly pointed to the spot and produced a red card for deliberate handball, so Chequers faced the prospect of a penalty and the final 30 minutes a man light. If there was any doubt that it was their day at that point, that doubt was removed as Roullier dived away to his left to save the penalty and Warne cleared the rebound to safety. In truth, Chalton heads then dropped and they failed to make the extra man count as Ryan in particular caused all sorts of problems on the counter attack. Sgambati replaced Warne with 20 minutes to go, and Onyon and Mardell marshalled Chalton’s wingers with ease and expertise. Chalton missed two decent headed opportunities, and another shot from inside the area was drilled off target, but they never really threatened a goal. The final salt was rubbed into the home team’s wounds on 75 minutes, as Ryan grabbed a fully-deserved third on the break and Chalton’s futile long-range efforts bore no fruit as Chequers comfortably saw the game out at 0-3.

An expert away performance against a top side will give Chequers a lot of confidence heading into the New Year as they look to record a top-half finish.

Man of the Match went to Neil Bishop, who’s domineering display in central midfield was capped with a goal as he continues his recovery from a long-term injury.

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