Chester-Le-Street United 0 v 1 Gateshead Leam Rangers
by Jeff King
After looking so comfortable in their opening two league games, United came crashing down to earth in front of a bumper crowd at The Riverside on Saturday. It was a disappointing day at The Office as United slipped to their first defeat of the season.
They made two changes to the team that had beaten Silksworth 3 - 1 at The Ford Hub on Tuesday. Influential attacking midfielder Micky Spellman was unavailable and George Riley came back into the starting XI with Abdullah Alawahdi replacing Ebenezer Adoo.
There were also first call-ups to the bench for Alex Fill, James Bakou and Alex Nicholson all of whom came on in the second half when United were trying to salvage the game. Keaton Senagogo, Josh Ward and Alawahdi the players replaced.
The substitutions failed to turn the game around and despite a lot of good possession the cutting edge in the final third was not there and it could be said that Chester missed the creativity of Spellman.
The only goal of the game came on 16 minutes. Chester failed to clear their lines fully from a corner and the ball fell to Joe Innes who delivered it into the box for Robbie Houghton to volley home.
Interestingly enough Coach John Gamble had signalled out set-plays as one of the most dangerous areas for the young Chester side in his preview of Saturday's game and his words turned out to be prophetic.
Resolute and organised defending from Leam Rangers in the following 70 minutes controlled the rest of the game as United were bullied and never stood up to the challenge.
The youngsters will have to learn quickly that talent alone may not be good enough in a tough Wearside League and sometimes it takes a bit of nous and understanding of the situation to get a result.
Skipper Josh Crews took the Man of the Match award and the only other statistic of note was a yellow card for Jak McKinley.
United have chance to quickly remove the negativity of Saturday's performance and result on Tuesday night when Washington United are the visitors to The Ford Hub for a 7:30pm kick-off.
TEAM : 1. James Anderson 2. Jayden Timmis 3. George Riley 4. Jak McKinley 5. Josh Crews (c) 6. Taylor Robinson 7. Abdullah Alawahdi 8. Josh Ward 9. Keaton Senagogo 10. Cameron Brewis 11. Ricardo Pereira
SUBS : 12. Alex Fill for Josh Ward 15. Alex Nicholson for Abdullah Alawahdi 16. James Bakou for Keaton Senagogo. SUB Not Used : 13. Arthur Leblond.