A high-scoring defeat in difficult circumstances saw Chequers record back-to-back league defeats as they were soundly beaten in Edlesborough on Sunday, but the real talking point will be the Purples having to play a large chunk of the match with just 10 players due to an injury as no substitutes turned up on the day.
Lack of availability plus failure to attend meant Chequers were forced into a number of changes to the starting XI. John Roullier started in goal behind a back 3 of Jon Onyon, Barry Wilson and Michael Towler. Tim Warne and Callum McKenna manned the flanks either side of Michael Ryan, Alex Dell and Wayne Mardel, whilst Mickey Francois and Dean Hinton's strike partnership continued up front.
Within 5 minutes Chequers were suffering deja vu, as a free cross into the box was partially cleared and a Swan striker was afforded the time and space to smash a truly world-class volley into the top corner from 20 yards to put the home side ahead. Chequers were almost level shortly after, as Wilson's angled ball found Ryan on the left of the penalty area and his first-time volley was somehow turned away by the Swan 'keeper from close range. Swan countered and almost doubled their lead, as a lay off inside the penalty area found a striker who's low snapshot was saved by Roullier and skipper Mardel was on hand to clear the rebound. Chequers forced a corner from which Warne headed over the crossbar at the far post, but in the melee Onyon took a stray fist to the face which broke the left back's nose. He had to leave the field of play for the rest of the half, and with no substitutes available Chequers were left with just 10 men. Swan made the most of the numerical advantage and doubled their lead after 25 minutes. Towler inadvertantly deflected a shot onto Roullier's shoulder, and the rebound was head towards goal where Warne attempted to handle the ball. Perhaps fortunately, the referee adjudged the ball to already have crossed the line and Warne was spared a red card, fine and suspension, not to mention that the Purples would have been down to 9 men. However, two became three 10 minutes later, as extremely poor marking at a corner left a Swan player with a free header which he somehow squeezed between Mardel and the post to make it 3-0 at half time.
Onyon bravely took to the field in attack for the second half, with Mardel filling in on the left of the back line. Hinton struck the woodwork from 35 yards and McKenna begun to show some great work on the right side of midfield as Chequers tried to get back into the game, but they were punished for some poor marking again. Yet another free header from another set piece nestled in the bottom corner to truly kill the game off with over half an hour still to play. Chequers did improve significantly in the second half and showed a lot of pride and commitment in the face of adversity, but the home side were potent every time they attacked and they notched a fifth goal with twenty minutes remaning. Ryan was disposessed on the edge of his own penalty area, and again Chequers failed to close down a shot from the edge of the box which Roullier got a full hand to but could only push it into the corner of his net. Swan then missed two excellent chances for further goals as Roullier saved with his legs from close range, and Mardel somehow cleared the ball over the crossbar when an own goal seemed a certainty. Chequers got some reward for their gutsy display as Francois was upended in the box, and the striker dusted himself off to smash a confident penalty into the corner to get the Purples on the scoresheet. Francois was at it again moments later, this time collecting a fantastic chipped through ball from Dell and steering a low finish past the 'keeper for 5-2. Wilson, up from the back for a corner, almost added further gloss to the scoreline as his powerful shot was deflected wide. It was unfortunate for the commanding Glaswegian as his excellent display at the back deserved better reward.
A bad result on the face of it, but the 11 players who showed up displayed great heart which will certainly give the management some selection headaches as the squad returns to it's full compliment in coming weeks.
Man of the Match went to Barry Wilson for a superb perfomance in the centre of defence.