by Jeff King
Wearside League – Tuesday 26th October 2021
Chester-le-Street United 8 1 Windscale
An amazing performance in very tricky conditions saw a red-hot United side produce a clinical lesson in finishing as they avenged last month’s 3 – 2 defeat at Windscale. The visitors had no answer to the power, speed and footballing ability as they were put to sword all night.
It was also a result that took United to the top of the Wearside League for the first time this season. It may only be temporary when other sides catch-up their games but the signs are there that this Chester side are definitely looking like Championship contenders.
That’s three wins in a row in the league now with 16 goals scored and only 1 conceded. Impressive stuff indeed from a set of youngsters who are starting to cope with the demands of playing in a senior, tough adult league.
United went into the game with an unchanged side from Saturday’s win at Durham Corinthians which was no surprise after that performance although it may well be one of the few occasions if not the first occasion no changes were made.
First thoughts as the game kicked off were that it was going to be a tricky game to negotiate with the wind blowing directly down the pitch making things difficult for both sides. United started the game with the wind at their backs.
It was a fairly even opening with both United and Windscale having decent spells in possession so far. The wind though was a real factor with neither side able to turn their possession in to clear-cut chances in the early going.
It was a night for keeping the ball on the carpet and looking to pick the right passes at the right times and that was exactly what United did on 25 minutes. Top scorer Cameron Brewis was the man to get on the score sheet finishing nicely following a great cut back from Michael Spellman from the left wing.
With the wind in their favour Chester were on the front foot but finding it difficult to break down the Windscale defence. They were however always looking dangerous and did manage to double their lead in the first forty-five minute.
The goal came through a tidy finish from Jay Gibson in the box with just minutes to go till half time.
The question many were asking was would two goals be enough when faced with kicking into the teeth of the gale in the second period. That question looked as if it may have a worrying answer for United when on 48 minutes Windscale’s Lewis Jolly fired one home to half the deficit.
But, as usual, Chester didn’t panic nor try to force the game. They kept their shape and knocked the ball around well and when not in possession kept their pressing game high.
It paid dividends when on 55 minutes Spellman pressurised the visitor’s defence stealing the ball of the last defender before smashing it home to restore the two-goal lead.
That third goal proved to be important and the catalyst for what was to come. It seemed like it might have been game on at 2 – 1 but restoring the two-goal cushion spurred Chester on. Their energy, work of the ball and precise incisive passing began to tire the Windscale resistance.
Louis Watts in particular was having a fine game in the centre of the park and with Gibson, Brewis and Spellman looking lively further forward it only seemed a matter of time before United went further in front.
So, it proved as a great through ball from Watts sent Spellman clear of the defence and he coolly rounded keeper Joe Green and slotted the ball into an empty net for his second of the night and his sides fourth.
Watts then got the goal his performance had deserved to further cement the now inevitable destiny of the three points midway through the second half with a stunning effort after a great run from midfield. The goal prompted a number of substitutions for Chester now 5 – 1 in front.
Ricardo Pereira returning from injury came on for Brewis. Miles Fox replaced Taylor Robinson, Abdullah Alawadhi coming on for Ebenezer Addo and Alex Nicholson for Spellman.
If Windscale had hopes that these changes would slow Chester down they were very much mistaken as the substitutes all kept the ball moving and the football flowing and there was an instant impact from Pereira who won a penalty and got up to calmly sight-foot the ball to Green’s right.
The beleaguered keeper’s dive just being a fraction late to stop the ball nestling in his net to make the score 6 – 1 to a rampant Chester side. They were combining individual flair and brilliance with a wonderful team ethic and Windscale just didn’t have any solutions to stop them.
It was another substitute that took advantage of the superiority to mark only his second appearance this season after recovering from an ankle he broke towards the end of the last campaign. Fox making it 7 – 1 with five minutes to go with a beautiful left foot curler from the edge of the box over Green's head.
Still United weren’t finished and continued to pour forward and the eight and final goal came from another of the substitutes as Alawadhi produced a clinical finish to another sweet move to help Chester record their biggest win of the season and one that took them to the top of the table.
Louis Watts probably took the man of the match honours but several players pushed him close including fine performances once again from United’s top scorers Brewis and Spellman.
After the game defender Elliot Day and first team Assistant Coach John Gamble summarised the team’s outstanding performance starting with Day.
“It was really tricky conditions. We went into the game warm-up and realised that it was going to be difficult and it got trickier as the game went on. We knew we had to get the ball down and play it around. You couldn’t go long with the ball as it either flew away from you with the wind or came back at you against it.”
“I thought the lads coped really well in the conditions. I thought the second goal just before half-time was massive for us. If we’d went in only one goal up and then they had scored straight away in the second half then everything could have changed.”
“They did get a goal but we hit back straight away and took the game by the scruff of the neck and it was a great three points. In the first half we had the wind and then they had it in the second half but in football it’s about how you adapt and we did really well and the score line reflected that.”
“We’ve felt that sort of performance has been coming. The last couple of games we’ve scored four and could have had more. Today the finishing was clinical and we got our rewards and we’re really happy with the three points.”
Gamble was also extremely pleased with the side as they went top of the Wearside League for the first time this season and he expressed his pleasure at the way the team had played given the conditions.
“We’re delighted given the conditions as it was blustery. We had the wind in the first half and went in two nil up and we were quite happy with that. They came out in the second half obviously looking to take advantage of the conditions.”
“But I thought we passed the ball around really well second half and created some great chances and finished them this time. We’re on a good run and there’s a great vibe about the changing room.
“There’s a big competition for places in the team and that’s lifting everyone’s standards and that’s what we want with this young group. Hopefully, we can build on that for the next game and then the next game after that.”
“I think great thing that we sorted tonight was the way we handled the ball. Our passing was very good tonight and in these conditions it’s what you need. You have to be very accurate with your passing and play the right passes.”
“I think some of the goals we scored with the passes we created them with and the weight of the pass in these conditions was excellent.”
So, a great night for United but there’s little time to rest on the laurels as they go again this Friday night away at Darlington Railway Athletic with a chance to continue their fine run and consolidate their position at the top of the table.
TEAM : Arthur Leblond – Jaden Timmis, Josh Crews ©, Elliot Day – Ebenezer Addo, Taylor Robinson, Louis Watts, Ryan Muldoon, Micky Spellman – Cameron Brewis, Jay Gibson
SUBS : Miles Fox for Robinson, Abdullah Alawadhi for Addo, Alex Nicholson for Spellman, Ricardo Pereira for Brewis. Not used – Aymeric Vidot and Jak McKinley
GOALS : Brewis, Gibson, Spellman 2, Watts, Pereira (pen), Fox, Alawadhi