Chequers eased through to next round of the Beds FA Centenary Cup with a 6-2 win today against Phoenix Reserves. Despite the dominant score line the game was far from easy and Chequers were their own worst enemy for periods of the game. This was partly down to the strange new rule allowing roll on roll off substitutes and party down to nearly every player being asked to play out of position. Despite this Chequers were deadly on the counter attack and man of the match Hinton picked up his first hatrick for the club and also topped it off with two assists. Midfielder Tom Smith was a notable absentee from the line-up despite being announced amongst the substitutes. This sort of incident can only add to speculation of his rift with the management over his latest contract demands. Smith was also caught by photographers crawling out of a cheap nightclub in the early hours of the morning with two scantily clad dressed women on his arms. Chequers first 5 minutes were in a word pathetic, with the team looking like they had not quite grasped the idea of getting a hold of the ball. They were running away from the ball as if they were Indiana Jones being chased by a giant boulder. Chequers eventually remembered what football was and created plenty of chances early on but lacked the finishing touch. Then suddenly against the run of play Phoenix managed to win two headers in the box and Chequers failed to clear the goalmouth scramble resulting in Phoenix taking a 1-0 lead. It looked as if the Phoenix players were shocked as anyone that they scored, a cheap goal to give away for the league leaders. However Chequers soon equalised on a counter attack with Onyon spreading the ball wide to Michael ‘Speedy Gonzales’ Ryan who shot down the wing and played a beautiful ball in between the full back and centre back for Hinton to stroll through and chip over the keeper for his first goal of the game. 1-1. Chequers pushed on and with the best passing move of the game Ryan spread the ball to Mardel who then passed inside for Stu Rolls who was on the edge of the area. Rolls shaped to shoot and drilled the ball off the post with the keeper nowhere. The ball bounced back out for Michael Ryan to react first and blast home for 2-1. Chequers nearly turned on their self destruction button again when keeper Roullier called for the ball but Bishop somehow managed to let it bounce off his leg and the Phoenix player was through with an open goal. Bishop then just managed to get his leg in the way and prevent the goal. HT 2-1.
Chequers started the second half in much the same manor, looking all over the place but still looking most likely to score. It was not long before Chequers made it 3-1, Godfrey crossed the ball in for Onyon to knock on to Hinton. Hinton then took on two defenders before placing it past the aging keeper. Hinton completed his hatrick with another counter attack; this takes his all time goal tally for the club to 39 goals in 110 appearances. He is now 1 goal behind legendary player and fans favourite Jon Onyon. 4-1. Midfielder Stu Rolls capped his 99th appearance and is due to join the 100 apps club next game along with Mardell, Smith and Hinton. Phoenix then somehow stumbled through to get a goal back to make it 4-2 with the aid of handball on the way. But this only stoked the fire and Chequers went back up the other end and Francois put home another goal from a Hinton cross for 5-2. The scoring was then complete when Francois put it on a plate for Bishop who guided the ball through the hands of Phoenix keeper for 6-2.
Pundit Alan Hansen was quoted as saying “Chequers have much to improve on after this performance and are yet to hit running speed. But my god when they do their opposition are in trouble”. This is in contrast to his pre-season comment “You can’t win anything with Tom Tracy”. Tracy has been out to prove him wrong and has the backing of showbiz father Eamonn Holmes.