by Jeff King
Wearside League – Wednesday 15th September 2021
Windscale 3 v 2 Chester-Le-Street United
After losing a tough encounter against a well organised Silksworth CW at the weekend, United were on their travels again. This time they had the long midweek trip to Cumbria and Egremont to face a Windscale side who were in flying form.
The Atoms as they are known had a 100% record in September prior to the game with three league wins and a Monkwearmouth Charity Cup victory under their belts. Those four games had seen them score 17 goals whilst conceding 6.
United made several changes from the side that lost to Silksworth with midfielder Jak McKinley being restored to the starting XI alongside Ebenezer Addo who had looked lively when coming off the bench against Silksworth.
There were also returns for top scorers Cameron Brewis and Micky Spellman in attack as United looked to put that defeat at Silksworth behind them and return to winning ways.
With the additional firepower available to Chester, it all pointed to a highly entertaining 90 minutes and so it proved with Windscale continuing their fine form to take a fifth consecutive win and condemning United to a second successive away defeat.
Both teams showed attacking intentions from the start with United having a dangerous free kick blocked and then Spellman went 1-on-1 with home keeper Ian Studholme who stood tall and made an excellent save.
After the initial away side’s burst it was the home side that began to take control showing why they were on a four-match winning run. On 8 minutes good football from Windscale saw them drive forward.
Kieren Fraser played a lovely through ball to Ben Graham whose great strike on target was matched with a great save from Arthur Leblond in the United goal.
Then a great cross from the left by Lewis White was scrambled away for a corner by the Chester defence which was dealt with well by the visitors.
It was certainly end to end football in the early going with both sides looking to create opportunities and defences under pressure.
A good win by Windscale’s right back Dan Morgan saw him find who plays in Lewis Jolly, Jolly’s cross caused real confusion in the United box where a real melee occurred. Windscale having several attempts at goal but the Chester defence stood firm and made multiple defensive stops.
Windscale looked as if they might be in on goal when they had a 2-v-1 break but once again United’s defence held firm and they switched play in the opposite direction where Brewis drew a fantastic save out of Studholme.
But it was Windscale that were now forcing the pace. A free kick for the home side was flicked on and fell to Graham whose close-range first-time effort was saved well by Leblond. But it was a temporary reprieve for United as the home side took the lead on 27 minutes.
A penalty was correctly awarded for a foul in the box and Graham stepped up and sent Leblond the wrong way to open the scoring. Four minutes later it was almost a second for Windscale and a second for Graham.
Lovely approach play saw Matty Pierce find Jolly and his cross picked out Graham in the box but this time the Windscale goal scorer put his effort just wide of the post from a great position. United were indebted to keeper Leblond in the next Windscale attack.
With that man Graham looking really lively it took a great diving save from Leblond to keep out his effort but, Graham was not going to be denied and did double his side’s lead on 37 minutes. Pierce won the ball well in midfield and slipped a great ball through to Graham.
This time his finish was cool and composed as he hit a shot across Leblond out of the keeper’s reach and into the bottom corner. United were now up against it as Windscale went looking for more.
The half did end with United coming forward but the Windscale defence looked in control and held firm as the home side took a deserved two goal lead into the dressing rooms at half time.
The second 45 opened with the first chance falling to Windscale’s Jolly who fired an effort just over the top of the United crossbar. Chester almost had the ball in the net in their next attack but a combination of keeper Studholme and Steven Walker scrambled the ball off the line and to safety.
On the hour mark Leblond once again came to his side’s rescue with another smart save from Fraser’s close-range effort before United grabbed a lifeline back into the game three minutes later.
It came from a penalty when Brewis rounded Studholme who tried to bring him down. It looked as if Brewis might have recovered from the challenge but he stumbled as he tried to finish and the referee pulled play back correctly and awarded the penalty.
Ricardo Pereira stepped up for the visitors and halved the deficit and it was game on. Chester’s goal though seemed to galvanise the home side who swept forward once again with Pierce getting a great strike away that Leblond did well to hold.
But once again Windscale were not to be denied for long and restored their two-goal advantage on 65 minutes. A cross came into the Chester box where it was met by Fraser’s lovely header that cannoned off the bar and fell to Fraser who made no mistake with the rebound.
Windscale were well on top now and Pierce went close again for them but became the latest player to find Leblond in fine form as the athletic United keeper did well to deny his fierce effort.
The attacking play died down a bit as both sides made substitutions which disrupted the flow of the game although Windscale were playing some good football and United were looking to hit on the counterattack with their pace.
The game drifted into injury time when there was one late twist in the tail. A neat attack from United saw substitute Abdullah Alawadhi get free inside the box and he planted a good header past Studholme to give his side brief hope.
It was not to be as the final whistle went moments later to give Windscale a win they deserved and enabled them to continue their fine form and run which has taken them in to the top echelons of the table. United meanwhile need to re-group, re-assess, and look for some answers to get back on track as they face another tough challenge on Saturday with a solid looking FC Hartlepool in Town at the Riverside for the next league game.
TEAM : 1. Arthur Leblond, 2. James Bakou, 3. Jaden Timmis, 4. Taylor Robinson, 5. Josh Crews ©, 6. Jak McKinley, 7. Ebenezer Adoo, 8. Jay Gibson, 9. Ricardo Pereira, 10. Cameron Brewis, 11. Micky Spellman.
SUBS : 12. Abdullah Alawadhi for Adoo, 13. Aymeric Vidot (Not Used), 14. Alex Nicholson for Brewis, 16. Lewis Dalton for Gibson, 17. Lewis Lembikisa for McKinley