by Jeff King
Wearside League Division 1 - Saturday 13th November 2021
Chester-le-Street United 7 v 0 Shildon AFC Reserves
At half-time with Chester-le-Street only a goal to the good and Shildon well in the game it was anybody's guess how the second half would pan out. However, whether anybody's guess would be that United would romp to victory with a six-goal second half salvo is doubtful.
Chester went into the game top of the league and on a run of seven consecutive wins having scored 34 goals and only conceding 5. That run included four league wins, two wins in the Durham FA Trophy and an Alan Hood Charity Cup win.
After last week's 5 - 0 win over Norton & Stockton in the Durham FA Trophy there were recalls for several players including top scorers Cameron Brewis and Michael Spellman.
The hat-trick hero from last week Abdullah Alawahdi is now away on international duty with Kuwait's Under-20 squad whilst Elliot Day and Jak McKinley were injured and unavailable. Lewis Lembikisa was also on the injured list so Ebenezer Addo returned to the side.
Addo and United started on the front foot and forced two early corners in quick succession the second of which saw Michael Condron do well to clear under pressure. The ball fell to Addo who whipped in a great cross.
Josh Crews got in a clever flick towards goal but Shildon skipper Dan Stones was on hand to hack the ball to safety. Brewis was already casuing problems for the away side and almost put United into the lead inside the first ten minutes.
He played an excellent 1-2 with Jay Gibson before bursting into the box and driving a shot towards the bottom corner. It was kept out by a brilliant full length diving save from Matthew Bateman in the visitor's goal.
United though didn't have long to wait to take the lead and the goal came on 11 minutes through a magical bit of play from Spellman. There seemed little danger when he picked the ball up just inside the Shildon half.
But, his driving run at the heart of the defence say him ghost past four defenders and into the box where he showed great composure the drive the ball home past a helpless Bateman for his 13th league goal of the season.
The goal seemed to stir the resolve of Shildon who whilst not creating a great deal played some good containing football against a United side looking for more. George Riley making a surging run out of defence and just failing to put Brewis and Gibson in on goal with Jack Vaulks making a last ditch interception.
Little had been seen of Shildon in attack and their best route to goal seemed to be from a set-play or long ball. The first time Chester goal-keeper Arthur Leblond was called into action was midway through the first half.
Callum Oldfield drove a long free-kick from halfway deep into the United box but Leblond came out well to claim the ball cleanly. United then produced the move of the game so far with some lovely football to almost increase their lead.
Crews swept a ball wide to Taylor Robinson who's inch-perfect slide rule pass freed Spellman on the left. The speedy wide man sent over a great teasing cross that just evaded Brewis' leap with the goal gaping.
Addo was causing problems out wide on the right and was upended by Oldfield just outside the box. Brewis sent in a dangerous ball to the back post that Vaulks did well to clear under pressure.
Robinson took the resultant corner and found the head of Crews but the Chester skipper couldn't keep his header down and it went harmlessly over the top. Shildon had their best period of the game just after the half-hour mark.
Another long free-kick from Oldfield found centre forward Danny Thomas in the area. He held the ball up well before turning and firing a low cross towards the Chester goal which Crews did well to block at the expense of a corner.
The first corner by Oldfield was long and was put out on the opposite side by Louis Watts for another one. This time Steven Dawson took it and Leblond punched it clear. The ball fell to Kory Whitfield at the edge of the box but he drove his shot over the bar.
United then missed a glorious chance to double their lead on 36 minutes. Watts broke from midfield and tried to slide Brewis in on goal. Oldfield intercepted but could only direct the ball to Addo who was only ten yards out with just Bateman to beat.
Unfortunately Addo dragged his shot wide of the target when he looked like a certain scorer. It was the last real opportunity of a lively first half where United had been well on top but Shildon had battled hard and restricted the efforts of the Chester attack.
At half-time Josh Ward cam on for United in place of Robinson who had picked up a groin strain in the first forty-five minutes. Shildon continued to thwart United's efforts after the break and it was a full ten minutes before they had a sight of goal.
Once again Addo was fouled just outside the box and Brewis stepped up but struck the free-kick well wide of the far post. Addo then conceded a free-kick wide on the Shildon left. Once again it was Oldfield who took it.
This time his delivery was crisp and direct and the ball flicked off the head of Spellman almost diverting into his own goal with Leblond beaten. Addo was very much involved in the game and cut inside moments later to unleash a fine effort from 22 yards that Bateman did well to hold.
Spellman and Brewis conjured up the next opportunity and when Brewis was blocked the ball fell to Ryan Muldoon just inside the box but he didn't connect fully and Bateman was able to get down to save.
A second goal did duly arrive for United on 62 minutes and it opened the floodgates in spectacular style. Spellman put in a great cross from the left that Gibson just failed to convert.
The ball fell to Addo who showed great footwork to dance inside his marker to smash a vicious shot which cannoned off the post and then off Bateman who thought he had scrambled it clear. But the Assistant's flag alerted the Referee that the ball had crossed the line and United were two up.
That second knocked the stuffing out of Shildon and they conceded again three minutes later. Lovely build up play from Spellman, Brewis and Muldoon created the opportunity. The ball arriving at the feet of Addo who drove it home via both posts.
It was all United now and they were in the mood for more with the whole side looking to get in on the act witnessed by the fourth goal of the afternoon on 68 minutes.
Riley produced another surging run out of defence deep into Shildon territory. He found Watts who returned the ball beautifully back to the United defender who glided 'Franz Beckenbauer' like into the penalty area before stroking the ball past Bateman.
Another three minutes went past and another Chester goal arrived as top scorer Brewis finally got in on the act. Ward burst into the box and although he was blocked he was able to knick the ball free and Brewis pounced on the loose ball to lash it home.
Brewis then almost turned provider splitting the Shildon defence open with a great ball for Ward who got to it just in front of Bateman but his flicked effort drifted agonisingly inches wide of the post.
Ward was proving effective from midfield and had another chance with ten minutes to go. This time his effort was well blocked by Stones and Chester got a corner. Brewis took the kick and substitute Jack Mortimer on for Gibson flicked it cleverly past Bateman with the outside of his left foot to make it 6 - 0.
United still weren't finished and made it a magnificent seven with five minutes left on the clock. It was that Spellman-Brewis combination once again that brought the reward. Spellman's excellent left-wing run and cross side-footed home at the far post by the unmarked Brewis for his 16th league goal of the season.
Brewis should perhaps have completed his hat-trick with the last chance of the game. This time he was through on goal but Batemen thwarted the striker's effort with an excellent block to ensure that Shildon didn't concede again.
This was some statement of intent in the second half by a rampant United side who drew great praise from Shildon Manager Wayne Clayton who Chester as the best side his team had faced this season without question.
With Darlington Town going down to a 4 - 2 home defeat at the hands of Wolviston and Gateshead Leam Rangers being held to a 1 - 1 draw at Darlington Railway Athletic it turned out to be a good afternoon for the table-topping United side.
TEAM : 1. Arthur Leblond 2. Jaden Tmmis 3. George Riley 4. Louis Watts 5. Josh Crews (c) 6. Taylor Robinson 7. Ebenezer Addo 8. Ryan Muldoon 9. Jay Gibson 10. Cameron Brewis 11. Michael Spellman
SUBS : 12. James Bakou for Watts 14. Josh Ward for Robinson 15. Miles Fox for Ryan Muldoon 16. Alex Nicholson for Addo 17. Jack Mortimer for Gibson
SCORERS : Spellman, Addo 2, Riley, Brewis 2, Mortimer