Chequers recorded a thumping victory for the second week running as they ran out 7-0 winners away against the new incarnation of an old nemesis, Victoria Rangers.
Tom Trigg returned in goal in place of the injured John Roullier. Jon Onyon, Tom Tracy, Chris Fagan and Michael Towler made up the defensive line behind a midfield four of Tim Warne, Alex Dell, Barry Wilson and Michael Ryan. Mickey Francois returned in attack alongside top-scorer Dean Hinton.
Chequers were quick out of the blocks and Dell fired two early warning shots from distance across the Rangers bow. Ryan was causing all sorts of problems for the home team’s left back, as his switch of position saw him marauding down the right wing and beating his man for fun. Having survived the onslaught, Rangers grew into the game and should have been ahead after 15 minutes. Fagan’s mistimed sliding tackle sent a striker sprawling in the penalty area, but from the resulting spot kick Trigg pulled off a fine save to keep the scores level. The hosts then wasted a one-on-one chance which rolled narrowly wide of the far post as they looked to stamp their authority on the match, which resulted in an open end-to-end contest. Towler was enjoying plenty of possession at right back, and was able to send a number of good passes into dangerous areas. Hinton saw a low finish disallowed for offside, before Ryan’s powerful long range effort flew straight at the goalkeeper. Francois then saw his headed effort deflect onto the outside of a post and wide, before the deadlock was broken in stunning fashion on 25 minutes. Warne picked up the ball on the left wing, before stepping inside and lashing a blockbuster of a shot into the top corner to give Chequers the lead at 0-1. Warne tried his luck from distance again shortly after, but was off target at the second attempt. The lead should have been doubled shortly before half time as centre-back Tracy arrived unmarked onto a corner, only to glance his header well wide. Trigg was called into action again on 45 minutes as he had to be quick off his line to deny a Rangers striker who was clean through on goal, and the half time whistle saw the away side leading by a single goal.
As much as the first half had been a close contest, the second half was an almost-total mauling of the home side by their visitors. Dell fired a free kick off target after Ryan was fouled on the edge of the box, but moments later Ryan himself was in the right place to collect a loose ball and stroke home for 0-2. Rangers did rally briefly as Towler cleared off the goal line from a corner, before a thunderbolt from 25 yards saw Trigg at full-stretch to his left to pull off a wonderful save. Warne and Onyon were enjoying plenty of time and space on the left, driving Chequers forward time and time again. Ryan turned provider on 65 minutes, as his low cross was turned in by Onyon at the near post for his third goal of the season. 5 minutes later the game was over as a contest, as Hinton curled home a precise free kick for 0-4 after Ryan had been felled 25 yards from goal. The in-form striker was not finished there, as he doubled his tally for the day on 80 minutes after collecting Dell’s through ball and firing into the bottom corner to make the score 0-5. Now in a purple-patch, he netted a 15-minute hattrick as he headed home Tracy’s pinpoint delivery for 0-6, and even added a fourth to his personal tally in the final minute as he converted Ryan’s lofted cross from close range to finish the scoring at 0-7. It could and should have been eight, as Warne tucked home after a spill from the Rangers ‘keeper only to see the goal chalked off by a dubious offside flag in injury time.
The margin of victory, combined with another clean sheet, meant Chequers have won their last two fixtures with an aggregate of 13-0 as they surge up the table. They now face the side just two places above them in the table this coming weekend, as they host Swan Northall Reserves.
Man of the Match went to Dean Hinton for a lethal second half performance in attack which netted him 4 goals, taking his season’s tally to 12 already.