Wearside League Division 1, Tuesday 10th August 2021
Chester-Le-Street United 3 v 1 Silksworth Colliery Welfare
League Championships are not won in August. They are won over the whole season by being consistently the best team who commits to each other and works hard as a unit to achieve the results that bring the rewards. However, statements of intent can be made at any time.
Chester-Le-Street United’s young first team certainly made a huge statement of intent last night when opening their home league campaign with a solid 3 – 1 win over previously unbeaten Silksworth at the Ford Hub, Sunderland.
United went into the game on the back of their opening 4 – 1 league win at Annfield Plain. High-flying Silksworth came in having won their first four games all away from home to sit second in the table with only a single goal stopping them from being league leaders.
At the end of an entertaining 90 minutes, it was United that retained the 100% record serving notice of their intent this season and giving the rest of the Wearside League something to think about.
United made three changes from Saturday’s win. Keeper Arthur Leblond coming in between the posts for James Anderson, Ricardo Pereira for Dan Turner and Josh Ward for George Riley who dropped to the bench.
From the off it was clear that Silksworth were going to provide a sterner test than the team had faced in their previous game although the home side were straight into the forward pressing style.
They got an early rewards as well, taking the lead after only six minutes on the clock. The architect was Micky Spellman who played a more central role on the night enabling him to be a real creative force in the game.
Spellman’s superb through ball found Keaton Senagoga sprinting clear and the striker showed real composure in lifting the ball past the advancing Silksworth keeper Jak Wright into the empty net. With the goal came the confidence and United were now starting to flow.
Pereira created the next chance for Spellman whose low left foot drive from an angle inside the box was well parried by Wright with the resulting corner coming to nothing. Cameron Brewis was then upended 25-yards from goal and got up to hit a great free-kick that Wright got across to tip over the bar.
Unsurprisingly the pressure paid off as the beleaguered Silksworth defence was opened up again just after the quarter hour. Spellman again being the provider.
His excellently weighted pass found Pereira in space and the wide man produced a clinical finish chipping over the already overworked Wright to double the home side’s lead.
To their credit though Silksworth did not buckle under the pressure and inability to create any meaningful possession. They rallied and remained solid and started to get their way back in the game and were gifted a lifeline after 20 minutes.
They won a corner on the left and Jordan Dagg’s in swinging delivery caused confusion in the home defence with Leblond not commanding his area and only succeeding in punching the ball against Silksworth skipper Daley Clarke and it rebounded over the goal line to half the deficit.
The goal buoyed the visitors but at the same time didn’t deter United and a fascinating tough contest ensued in which both sides showed the reasons why many consider them to be title contenders.
On 30 minutes Brewis’s corner was only half cleared and fell to Spellman who’s angled drive was once again well parried by Wright whose defence scrambled the ball clear. A few minutes later Chester should perhaps have gone further in front as they created a great chance.
Ebenezer Adoo was the provider with a lovely bit of trickery on the right. His cross was a good one and found Senagoga but despite the forward being unmarked and only eight yards from goal he couldn’t get enough power in the header to trouble Wright.
Silksworth had been holding their own without really creating a chance although a nice overlapping run by Eliot Tench saw him pick out Clarke in the middle but the midfielder’s header was well over the bar with Leblond not troubled.
The last chance of the half for United saw them waste a good opportunity to create a scoring opportunity. Brewis did really well to release Adoo on the right and he was clear of the defence. Unfortunately, from a great position Adoo’s cross was a poor one failing to pick out a teammate.
The half-time whistle came with United leading 2 – 1 which could have been more if their finishing had been better. It meant Silksworth were still in the game with an intriguing 45 minutes to go.
The state of the game may have accounted for the cagy start to the second half. Whilst neither side was able to create much in the way of chances it was still, possession wise, the home side that was pressing although Silksworth looked solid.
When the first real opportunity came it was surprisingly the visitors that did carve it out. Dagg out wide on the left made space to fire in a great chance that gave centre forward Liam Mulvain a free header but his effort was weak and straight at Leblond who held on comfortably.
United responded with the scheming Spellman finding Brewis inside the box but his effort was dragged wide from a good position. Pereira was the next man to have a good chance but again shot wide from 10-yards when well placed.
Chester were now beginning to turn the screw and made it 3 – 1 on the 68th minute. Jak McKinley played a great ball for Senagoga who chipped it over Wright and as he went to finish the loose ball the keeper pulled him back and awarding a penalty was an easy decision for the referee.
Brewis took the responsibility for the spot-kick, stepped up and drilled it low and decisively to Wright’s left-hand and into the bottom corner of the net. It was the goal that sealed the victory as Silksworth had no answer and United just got stronger as the minutes ticked by.
On 75 minutes the coaching staff made three changes. Adoo, Senagoga and the excellent Jaden Timmis were replaced by Lewis Lembilisa, Abdullah Alawadhi and George Riley. The changes freshened things up and added even more pace to the home side’s attacks.
Alawadhi in particular really getting involved and causing problems. Silksworth were trying to push forward but every time they did so they were vulnerable to the counterattack. With 12 minutes to go Brewis had a dip from a 25-yard free-kick that curled towards the top corner. Wright’s outstretched hand though tipping the ball behind.
Then a superb sweeping move involving Alawadhi and Pereira gave Spellman a shooting chance but he was narrowly wide from about 14 yards. McKinley’s bursts from midfield were not being tracked by the tiring Silksworth engine room and the two-goal hero from Saturday went close on a couple of occasions to adding to his season tally.
United were now running rampant and in complete dominating mode with Spellman and Brewis pulling the strings with Taylor Robinson and McKinley working tirelessly to get the ball back time and time again. Twice Spellman showed his vision and creativity.
First finding Brewis who’s angled shot brought a good save from Wright and then moments later the keeper did even better to deny Alawadhi a first goal in Chester colours with an excellent one handed save after the substitute showed great pace to benefit from Spellman’s pass.
Even skipper Josh Crews got in on the act to set-up the last chance of the game. Driving out of defence with the ball he switched play beautifully to the right to find the speedy Lembilisa who got away from his marker and crossed for Alawadhi to get a head on the ball but send his header just too high.
The final whistle must have come as a relief to Silksworth who had been really stretched the whole game but especially in the last fifteen minutes as the superior fitness and pace of this young United side shone brightly under The Ford Hub lights.
An excellent win from Chester-Le-Street and one that will be noticed around the league. Silksworth’s start to the season had marked them out as difficult and tough opponents. For long stretches they matched that but in the fine analysis they didn’t create a great deal and had United’s finishing been better then the score line might have taken on a greater emphasis.
United are next in action at home at The Riverside against Gateshead Leam Rangers with a 2:00pm kick-off.
This game will be preceded by a Children’s Football Festival which enables all youngsters the opportunity to get into the senior game free of charge as Chester-Le-Street aim to “Pack The Park” and look for a third straight league win.
TEAM : 1. Arthur Leblond 2. Jaden Timmis 3. Josh Ward 4. Jak McKinley 5. Josh Crews (c) 6. Taylor Robinson 7. Ebenezer Adoo 8. Cameron Brewis 9. Keaton Senagogo 10. Mickey Spellman 11. Ricardo Pereira ; Subs : 12. George Riley for Timmis 14. Lewis Lembilisa for Adoo 16. Abdullah Alawadhi for Senagoga. Sub Not used : 13. Aymeric Vidot
SCORERS : Keaton Senagoga, Ricardo Pereira, Cameron Brewis (penalty)