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Still No Joy For United As They Lose Out To Colliery Second Half Surge

by Jeff King

Ebac Northern League Division 2 - Saturday 27th January 2024

Horden C. W. 3 v 0 Chester-le-Street United

After finally stopping their losing run in midweek with a 0 - 0 home draw against Esh Winning, United travelled down the A19 to take on a tough Horden side who were sitting in the top four of the division prior to kick-off.

Jack Wilson continued in the side with Kobe Bewicke coming back in to replace Ashton Houlahan who was only fit enough to be on the bench. First Team head Coach Micky Nelson continuing in the middle of the defence.

United actually made the brighter start with a lovely move that saw Ben Lawton in midfield release Wilson. He looked as if he was going to have a good shooting opportunity until Ben Riding came across to make a great challenge.

Horden had an early penalty shout when Nelson challenged Liam Wright. Nothing was given and the ball fell to Dan Flounders who shot over from a tight angle. The home side kicking downhill with the wind were starting to exert some pressure.

Successive corners were won with United doing well to clear the first and then Kieran Campbell hitting the final one too deep to the back post missing all its targets.

Reyhan Grimaud showed good awareness after winning a ball in his own half and getting the pass away to Dan Robinson who made good progress into the Horden half. He found Lawton who was squeezed out by the defence.

Grimaud continued the pressure by latching onto the loose ball but from fully 25 yards out his left foot effort was ambitious and flew well wide without troubling Joe Atkinson in the home goal.

Campbell looked a good outlet for the home side. He advanced well down the left flank before delivering a great ball into the box towards ex-United skipper Taylor Campbell who was denied by Robinson's interception.

The resulting corner was cleared but Horden came straight back at United and a long cross from Flounders looked dangerous with Harvey Rudd touching it behind for another corner.

Taylor Campbell took this one and his dangerous in-swinger was headed clear by Nelson only for Kieran Campbell to pick it up wide left and deliver another decent cross into the middle.

This time Taylor Campbell got in front of the United defence but his neat flick header from 8 yards went just over the bar. It was constant Horden pressure without any great chances being created and United playing on the counter.

One such counter saw Grimaud moving left with the ball before releasing Jack Ledger on the overlap. He flashed a great cross deep into the Horden danger area but there was no-one there for Chester to get a decisive touch.

Rudd then tripped Kieran Campbell on the left to concede a free-kick thirty yards from goal. Taylor Campbell whipped in a great ball that Jack Pounder flicked goal wards only to see his header go inches wide as it deflected off a Chester defender.

Taylor Campbell delivered the corner right to the back post and in the ensuing scramble the ball found the back of the net only for the referee to rule the goal out for a foul.

The last action of a half that Horden had dominated with United having intermittent break-outs saw Callum Hodgson drift a free-kick at James Hughes who did really well to punch it away under pressure from Pounder.

As the teams dropped off it was Chester who were perhaps the happier of the two having withstood the pressure that playing with the slope and the strong wind had given Horden.

Within five minutes of the restart United looked a bit disorganised as first Lawton limped off to be replaced by Ryan O'Connor and then Nelson looked as if he had picked up a knock and was struggling.

Horden took full advantage by sweeping into the lead on 53 minutes with a well worked and finished goal. Good play on the right opened up an avenue for Taylor Campbell who cleverly back-heeled the ball to Flounders.

Flounders played a low ball into Wright who should good control before firing his right-foot effort from 10-yards past Hughes' despairing dive. Before the restart Nelson went off to be replaced by Charlie Loveday.

United were still in the process of reorganising when Horden struck again. This time Flounders and Wright combining well to find Pounder open inside the Chester box and finished well from about 12-yards with his left foot.

A complete turn around from the first half and Chester once again with a mountain to climb. Skipper Dylan Wilkinson trying to lead by example coming forward from the box and hitting a 25-yard cross shot from the right that wasn't far wide.

But it was the home side that went further ahead on 68 minutes effectively killing off the game and United's challenge. The goal actually came from a rare forage forward from United who had won a corner.

The corner was cleared and a great ball down the left released Taylor Campbell who made ground and crossed low into the United box. Substitute David Doughty timing his run in between defenders perfectly to slot home in fine style from 8-yards.

Doughty should have doubled his tally a few minutes later when Horden pulled the Chester defence apart. Taylor Campbell playing a great ball inside the box to Pounder who unselfishly laid it off to Doughty who shot wide with only Hughes to beat.

The pressure United were under was palatable. Somehow they didn't conceded again although perhaps they should have. Pounder firing wide from about 14-yards out and then Doughty again should have scored.

Ross Kidson curling a 25-yard free kick around the Chester wall which was well saved by Hughes but the loose ball fell to Doughty who managed to smash it over from close range with the goal gaping.

3 - 0 down United couldn't even conjure up a consolation. Substitute Michael Mallaburn having a chance to show his dead ball expertise but his 22-yard effort was always rising over the bar despite the clean hit.

The referee's final whistle brought an end to a very disappointing second half showing from United. They never got into stride or used the slope and wind once going one-nil down. Horden on the other hand got stronger and stronger.

Another game, another loss after an encouraging result in midweek and yet again no goals for a Chester side still rooted in third bottom and looking down not up due to the results they're achieving.

TEAM : 1. James Hughes 2. Harvey Rudd 3. Jack Ledger 4. Dylan Wilkinson (c) 5. Micky Nelson 6. Sam Bajrami 7. Dan Robinson 8. Ben Lawton 9. Kobe Bewicke 10. Jack Wilson 11. Reyhan Grimaud

SUBS : 12. Charlie Loveday (for Nelson 54 mins) 14. Ryan O'Connor (for Lawton 51 mins) 15. Ashton Houlahan - DNP 16. Michael Mallaburn (for Wilson 63 mins) 17. Harry Marr (for Ledger 70 mins)

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