by Jeff King
DURHAM FA TROPHY 1st ROUND – SATURDAY 6th NOVEMBER 2021
Norton and Stockton Ancients 0 v 5 Chester-le-Street United
United travelled to Norton to take on fellow Wearside League Division 1 opponents Norton and Stockton Ancients looking to continue their recent fantastic form. The reward for the victors was a place in the quarter finals of the competition.
The home side have been struggling this season only picking up one win in the league leaving them languishing second from bottom of the Wearside League, a division United currently top.
Chester’s first team had travelled to Huddersfield the previous day to take on the Academy side in Yorkshire which was reflected in the team selection for this game 24 hours later. With a strong squad available the Management Team elected to give an opportunity to some of the fringe players.
Josh Ward, James Bakou, Abdullah Alawadhi, Jack Mortimer and Lewis Lembikisa coming in with Cameron Brewis, Ryan Muldoon, Ebenezer Addo and Jay Gibson all dropping to the bench alongside Miles Fox.
Michael Spellman who will be travelling to Huddersfield again on Monday for a three-day visit to train with their Academy was understandably left out of the match day squad. However, the feeling in the Chester camp was that it was a starting line-up that should still get a result.
Within ten minutes that feeling was justified when United opened the scoring with a goal from Alawadhi. Mortimer took a free kick from the right wing and the young Kuwaiti Under-19 international rose well to plant a great header into the top right corner.
This opened the game up and the home side responded with a corner that found a target inside the box but the free header went over the bar. Jacob Crowne in the Norton goal then produced a great save to deny Mortimer a second from close range.
The second goal for Chester was not long in coming and once again it was Alawadhi with the effort. His deflected strike from the edge of the area beating the unfortunate Crowne to give Norton keeper a mountain to climb.
They nearly snatched a foothold back into the game just before half-time when a teasing cross from Joe Thompson was directed into the United area and flashed across the goal but there was nobody there from Norton to get on the end of it.
At half-time Chester led two-nil and were just about worthy of their lead although Norton were still in the game.
That didn’t last long when the sides resumed battle in the second 45 minutes. Mortimer got in on goal past the Norton defence and finished calmly past Crowne to put United three-up and all but confirmed the win.
If Norton still felt they had a chance it was totally extinguished on about the hour mark. That man Alawadhi completing a fine hattrick following a great low cross from the left wing by Elliot Day.
It was doubly sweet for Alawadhi who had his proud father watching from the side lines. Coasting to victory United still had time to add a fifth goal and what a finish it was. Substitute Miles Fox lobbing the keeper from 25 yards out for best goal of Chester’s five.
It was another superb effort from the Chester youngsters who have now won their last five games in a row scoring twenty-five goals and only conceding two. Just as importantly the game showed the depth of the United squad. A fact that delighted Director of Football John Gamble.
“After playing down at Huddersfield on Friday we made sure everyone from the squad that was available got good game time. Our new frontline saw a great reward with Alawadhi and Mortimer getting on the score sheet and Fox coming on to score the goal of the game.”
“I was pleased to see everyone contributing to both games. We have a test coming up in the next few weeks fitting Wearside League, Cup and Academy fixtures so it’s nice to keep the squad all involved. It gives excellent opportunities for all the players.”
TEAM : 1. Arthur Leblond 2. Jaden Timmis 3. Elliot Day 4. Louis Watts 5. Josh Crews © 6. Taylor Robinson 7. Josh Ward 8. James Bakou 9. Abdullah Alawadhi 10. Jack Mortimer 11. Lewis Lembikisa
SUBS : 12. Cameron Brewis 13. Ryan Muldoon 14. Ebenezer Addo (for Bakou) 15. Jay Gibson 16. Miles Fox (for Watts)
SCORERS : Alawadhi 3, Mortimer, Fox