Banstead Athletic 1-2 Chertsey Town

Thursday 04th April 2019
Banstead Athletic 1 – 2 Chertsey Town
Location Merland Rise, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 5JG
Kickoff 04/04/2019 19:45

Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League Premier Division
Thursday 4 April 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Merland Rise

CHERTSEY TOWN remain on course to win the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League Premier Division title after putting in a professional performance to beat Banstead Athletic.

All three goals were scored during the first half at Merland Rise, with Chertsey Town taking an early lead through a Lewis Driver strike.

Rod Davis’ hosts equalised through Joe Cheesman’s tap-in following a corner, before Dave Anderson’s side claimed the victory courtesy of Lubomir Guentchev’s finish.

Chertsey Town had central midfielder and captain Kevin Maclaren red-carded for an alleged elbow on his opponent in the 69th minute and this team-mates put in a professional performance to see out the win.

Sutton Common Rovers are top of the table with 71 points with four league games remaining, while Chertsey Town closed the gap to just two points tonight and must play another 10 league games before playing Kevin Watson’s Cray Valley (Paper Mills) in The Buildbase FA Vase Final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 19 May 2019.

Banstead Athletic went into the game sitting in fifth-place in the table with 52 points from their 34 games and they went out of the Surrey Senior Cup at the Semi-Final stage on Tuesday night, going down to a 1-0 home defeat to Bostik Central side Tooting & Mitcham United.

Anderson’s men, meanwhile, extended their unbeaten run to eight games in all competitions after coming away from Colliers Wood United with a 3-3 draw on Tuesday night.

Banstead Athletic played with three centre-halves, two wing backs and goalscorer Cheesman sat behind big target-man Michael Philliip-Ogbungo, while Chertsey Town used a 4-4-2 formation.

Chertsey Town were impressive down the left with winger Sam Murphy often linking up well with full-back Mason Welch-Turner during the first half.  Striker Jake Baxter, with 35 goals this season, meanwhile, had a quiet night in front of goal.

Banstead Athletic created the first opening inside the opening 10 minutes when holding midfielder and captain Joe Blendell drove in a free-kick from the left some 35-yards from goal and visiting keeper Nick Jupp stooped and allowed the ball to run through his fingers and was relieved when the ball trickled past the foot of the near post.

Chertsey Town opened the scoring with a clinical counter-attack down the right wing, the goal timed at 13 minutes and 31 seconds.

Right-back Lewis Jackson released winger Guentchev down the right wing and he cut inside and put the ball on a plate for an unmarked Driver, who swept a first time shot past Jack Minchin to find the bottom near corner.

The Curfews were a dominant force during the first half with Banstead Athletic, a big strong side, failing to provide any support to their big front three.

Inevitably, Banstead Athletic grabbed an equaliser following their second of four corners, the goal timed at 23 minutes and 3 seconds on the clock.

Blendell swung in a corner from the left and big centre-half Tom Costelloe flicked the ball on at the near post on the by-line and Cheesman couldn’t miss from a couple of yards out, poking the ball into the bottom left-hand corner.

The equaliser lifted Banstead’s morale and they missed two glorious chances before the half-hour mark.

Left-wing-back Anthony Morrison sped down the wing before floating in a deep cross, which was flicked on by Cheesman inside the box and right-wing-back Ben Geraghty was left in oceans of space at the far post.  He drilled a stinging drive from 15-yards, which was held at face height by Jupp.

Owen Davies hit a ball over the top of the Chertsey defence – catching out Welch-Turner and Danny Bennell – but Antonio Dembele lost composure inside the box and lashed his shot high over the near post from 15-yards when he only had the keeper to beat.

Chertsey winger Murphy noticed Minchin was off his line and tried to score from 45-yards, the ball sailing harmlessly wide, before Chertsey Town sealed the victory with 44 minutes and 25 seconds on the clock.

Murphy played the ball in from the left and Maclaren’s dinked pass played in Guentchev, who applied the finish past Minchin from 10-yards to score his 15th goal of the season.

Banstead Athletic created an opening inside the opening six minutes of the second half.

Morrison threw the ball in from the left, Davies found space on the by-line to flick the ball on but Dembele’s looping shot towards the top far corner was comfortably plucked out of the air by Jupp, high to his left.

Chertsey Town missed a glorious chance to increase their lead in the 63rd minute but central midfielder Dave Taylor sent his shot into orbit from close range.

Jackson and Murphy linked up well down the right and full-back Jackson whipped in a quality delivery towards the near post but an unmarked Taylor smacked his volley high over the crossbar from a couple of yards out.

Referee David Lunani spotted Maclaren had lashed out on  his opponent in midfield following Jupp’s goal-kick and Chertsey Town played the final 21 minutes with ten-men.

Banstead Athletic lacked the quality and knowhow to trouble a well-organised Chertsey Town side, who should arrive at Wembley Stadium with the league title in their grasp, having lost just one league game in 28.

Banstead Athletic captain Blendell hit a 35-yard volley, which stung Jupp’s fingers inside the final 15 minutes of the game and Dembele cut in from the left before curling his shot past the foot of the near post.

Banstead Athletic: Jack Minchin, Ben Geraghty (Joe Jones 56), Anthony Morrison, Tom Costelloe, Stephen Newman, Declan Teuten, Owen Davies, Joe Blendell, Michael Phillip-Ogbungo (Aron McCallum 68), Antonio Dembele, Joe Cheesman (Mohammed Abukar 83).
Subs: Kailan North, Bukele Mukludi

Goal: Joe Cheesman 24

Chertsey Town: Nick Jupp, Lewis Jackson, Mason Welch-Turner, Kevin Maclaren, Michael Peacock, Danny Bennell, Lubomir Guentchev (Glenn Yala 70), Dave Taylor, Jake Baxter, Lewis Driver (Dale Binns 63), Sam Murphy.
Subs: John Pomroy, Fred Hill, Lewis Gallifent

Goals: Lewis Driver 14, Lubomir Guentchev 45

Booked: Dale Binns 83

Sent Off: Kevin Maclaren 69

Attendance: 103
Referee: Mr David Lunani (Bromley)
Assistants: Mr Adam Merchant (Epsom, Surrey) & Mr Jason Lidbetter (Fetcham, Surrey)