Chequers finally came up with the result their recent performances have been threatening as they thrashed Leighton Town Sunday 6-0 at Stockwood Park on Sunday.
John Roullier made his return in goal, with central defenders Chris Fagan and Tom Tracy flanked by Jon Onyon and Rob Mardell. Captain Wayne Mardel returned on the right wing and Tim Warne continued on the left, either side of Alex Dell and Tom Smith in the centre of midfield. Michael Ryan and Dean Hinton lead the line in what was to prove a very profitable day for the forwards.
Leighton Town began confidently and forced two early corners, but Chequers dealt with both comfortably and looked very solid at the back in general. The Purples then squandered two great chances to take an early lead as Hinton first found himself clean through on goal only to see a tame effort saved, and then the same player was robbed of the ball as he tried to cut onto his favoured right foot 8 yards out. Undeterred, the first goal of the day was netted after 15 minutes as Smith's precise through-ball was comfortably steered into the bottom corner by Ryan who has now scored in each of his last three games. 5 minutes later Chequers hit the back of the net again, as Warne jinked past two challenges before feeding the ball to Smith. The combative midfielder's precise chipped ball was expertly controlled by Hinton, who struck low past the 'keeper to double the home team's lead. Moments later Hinton could have got himself on the scoresheet again as he latched onto Ryan’s low cross, only to see the Leighton Town ‘keeper pull off an outstanding point-blank save. Roullier was then tested from equally close range at the other end, but was also able to produce the save to preserve the two goal lead. A moment of madness saw a number of Chequers’ players stop playing assuming the ball had crossed the touchline for a throw-in, allowing a striker to advance inside and hit a shot straight at Roullier. Mardel quickly collected the ball out wide and sprung a counter attack which saw Dell feed Hinton, and the striker made the scoreline 3-0 with just half an hour gone. On the stoke of half time Fagan picked up a booking for a foul on the edge of the box. The resulting free kick was curled around the Chequers wall, but Roullier was able to hold on low down to his left.
The Purples started the second half in fairly sloppy fashion, and the away side should have got themselves back into the game with 50 minutes gone. A striker skipped past Fagan’s tackle, and the defender had to be careful not to commit a foul which would surely have seen him dismissed. However, just as the forward was about to pull the trigger, the covering Mardell dispossed him with an excellent last-ditch tackle. With 25 minutes to go Roullier bowled the ball to Mardell out wide, but the right back inadvertantly passed straight to a Leighton Town player. The midfielder spotted Roullier off his line and hit a first-time shot which had the 'keeper sprinting back towards his own goal to tip the ball wide, but in doing so he collided heavily with the goalpost and was unable to continue. Barry Wilson was brought on at left back in a switch which saw Onyon take the gloves for the final quarter of the match. Ryan could have doubled his personal tally for the day, but blazed wide when clean through on goal. Dell and Smith were running the show in midfield, and Mardell found himself in the perfect position to arrive on a partially cleared corner and arrowed the ball into the net for 4-0. Hinton then had a gilt-edged chance to register a hattrick, but saw his initial one-on-one effort saved before somehow sending the rebound over the unguarded goal via the top of the crossbar. Smith then capped another top performance in midfield with a rocket of a shot that left the goalkeeper little chance, making it 5-0 with ten minutes to go. Skipper Mardel then saw his goalbound effort plucked from the top corner, before Hinton finally netted his third of the game with a low finish into the bottom corner.
6-0 certainly did not flatter Chequers, who arguably should have won by even more. This result saw the Purples climb into the safety of mid-table, and they will now have an eye on chasing down the sides at the top.
Man of the Match went to Dean Hinton who put in a fine performance to net a treble.