Blues 1 Chesham 1 – full report and pics
The visitors saw Joe Iaciofano sent off shortly before half-time when he picked up a second yellow card for time-wasting in the space of three minutes.
Both sides were guilty of missing late sitters with a substitute of each club being culpable with Ryan Richefond responsible for Stortford and Jon-Jo Bates for the visiting Generals.
Kevin Watson had a few selection problems before the start as regular keeper Tyler McCarthy was out of action with a shoulder injury sustained at Gosport whilst Marvel Ekpiteta was away on holiday and Jason Williams commencing a two match suspension. It meant that Luke Sheldrick made his debut between the sticks, whilst Sam Hatton and George Casey were in a reshuffled defence. Also, Freddy Moncur was brought into the starting eleven.
Darren Foxley shot over the bar from a Dipo Akinyemi early cross but he was in any case in an offside position. There were very few openings and little between the sides in the opening minutes although Sheldrick was the busier of the two goalkeepers. The new keeper saved well to keep out a 30 yard volley from Adam Watkins. Generally, shooting and passing the ball was wayward although in Stortford’s favour was the fact the Chesham defence looked a little unsure of itself.
However, it was the Buckinghamshire side that took the lead in the 31st minute. The visitors’ Jhai Dhillon crossed hard and low from the left touchline and Iaciofona netted from inside the six yard box.
Jordan Westcott struck a rising shot just over the bar from eighteen yards in the 38th minute before Iaciofona left the pitch in the 44th minute after receiving yellow cards in quick succession for first blocking a Blues free-kick and then kicking the ball away when another free-kick was conceded.
The Blues could have fallen behind further before the break as an unmarked Kieran Murphy, at the back post, headed across goal following a Dhillon corner and fortunately the ball deflected away for another flag kick.
Kevin Watson made a substitution at half time with Christian Owusu replacing Jordan Westcott.
The rest of the match saw Stortford understandably on the front foot and having the majority of the possession but they found it very difficult to break down the United defence to create any worthwhile chances.
It took a well worked goal to provide the equaliser in the 71st minute. An excellent pass up the left wing by Darren Foxley sent Owusu on a run forward and although he was closely policed by Chesham skipper Adam Pepera the substitute managed to provide a defected low cross into the centre and Mark Hughes , scoring his second goal in two games, fired into the net via the underside of the bar from close range.
In a rare raid for Chesham, Watkins’ shot from the edge of the area was beaten away by the flying Sheldrick.
In the 76th minute Owusu, struggling with a groin strain, was replaced by Richefond.
Then, with ten minutes of normal time remaining, the first glaring miss occurred. A deep cross from the right by Sam Hampson saw the ball drop kindly for Richefond close to goal but the midfielder blasted the ball over the bar.
Then four minutes later a long clearance by the Generals’ keeper, Hafed Al-Droubi found substitute Oran Swales on the left and his angled effort rebounded off the Blues bar. There was an even closer escape in the 88th minute when Swales attacked from the opposite side and although Sheldrick got down to turn aside the shot the ball ran into the path of Bates. But with faced virtually with an open goal he contrived to miss the target.
There were five minutes of added time but neither side threatened the goal again.
As well as the sending off, referee Dean Skipper showed yellow cards to Stortford’s Hatton, Casey, Foxley and Akinyemi and the visitors’ Zack Reynolds and Bates.
STORTFORD: Luke Sheldrick; Sam Hatton; Aaron Tumwa; Mark Hughes; George Casey; Joe Robinson; Tyrique Hyde-Skerritt; Jordan Westcott (Christian Owusu 46 (Ryan Richefond 76)); Dipo Akinyemi; Freddy Moncur (Alex Rogers 66); Darren Foxley. Unused substitute: Jack Thomas.
CHESHAM UNITED: Hafed Al-Droubi; Benji Crilley; Jhai Dhillon; Matt Bevans; Kieran Murphy; Adam Pepera; David Hutton (Danny Green 78); Adam Watkins (Jon-Jo Bates 82); Lewis Toomey (Oran Swales 73); Joe Iaciofano; Zack Reynolds.Unused substitutes: Shane Bush and Ahmed El-Sahib.
Referee: Dean Skipper. Attendance: 234