by Jeff King
Pre-season Friendly - Saturday 9th July
Chester-le-Street United Reserves 5 v 1 Durham City
What a sensational way to announce your arrival within the Club! Chester-le-Street United Reserves first fixture, albeit a friendly, could not have gone much better as the side that will play in Wearside League Division Three put Wearside League Division One side Durham City to the sword.
With a match day roster that contained four 16-year-olds, three 17-year-olds and only one player over the age of 21 this could have been a daunting task for the youngsters. It proved quite the opposite as after a nervous first half which ended goalless they produced a stunning second-half performance underlining their potential.
For those involved with Chester’s first-team who will play in The EBAC Northern League Division 2 this season, this was justification for adding in a reserve side. It also lends a great feeling that once again this fledgling Club is heading in the right direction.
Despite the nervous opening by half-time the Reserves were looking solid, were well on top and had missed a few good chances. All that was to change in the second forty-five minutes. The took the lead with a superb long-range free-kick from Benji Jackson that flew high past the Durham keeper.
The second goal came from with a nice finish by Noah Ellis from the edge of the box. Durham did pull one back but the Reserves restored their two-goal cushion with a third goal.
Jay Giles made a brilliant run past several Durham defenders before the keeper blocked his effort. The ball fell to Jackson who netted his second of the game.
Giles was at it again for the fourth goal timing his run perfectly to beat the offside trap before squaring the ball unselfishly for Gideon Kanyondo to tap it home. The fifth goal came with time almost expired and completed a great day for Jackson as he finished well to seal a hat-trick.
It was a great way to start the pre-season campaign for the latest piece of the Chester jigsaw and Manager Anthony Johnson was a delighted man after the game.
“I thought it was a good performance from the lads especially in that heat. Durham rarely offered anything and struggled to get the ball off us all game."
"Even at half-time we were the better side but the way we converted our chances and really imposed ourselves in the second half was great to see. It was very encouraging for us as we look to build towards the season opener.”
He also had a special word of thanks and praise for the veteran Scott Arnott who played in the centre of defence and at age 34 was a mere 13-years-older than his closest team mate.
“Scott is a very experienced centre-back/central defensive midfielder and is a great guy to have around the kids. We often get him involved with us as he’s great to have around the group for a bit of experience as the lads like his experience.”
Next up for the Reserves is another home friendly at The Riverside this Saturday, 16th July, with a 2:00pm kick-off. The opposition again come from the Wearside League First Division in the form of Shildon AFC Reserves. Supporters are welcome.
The United Lounge will be open both before and after the game with drinks and food being served. It’s a great opportunity to get to know the lads and show your commitment to the Club as the build-up to the 2022/23 season continues.