Chequer fielded their strongest side this season and came
away deserved winners against league leaders Goring Thistle.
Thistle had been on fine form winning
6 out of 7, and scoring 35 goals in the process, including
8 past us in a humiliating defeat earlier in the season.
Manager Richard Wilkie, who had seen
his side overrun at Thistle gambled on playing a narrow
midfield with 3 ball winners in Gareth Dutton, Adam Searle
and Danny Gainsford. The plan worked as Chequer sat deep,
swamped the midfield and never let themselves get overrun
offering plenty of defensive cover.
Chequer created the better opportunities
in a close and keenly contested first half - James O'Nell
twice failed to finish from close range when the ball
fell to his weaker left foot. The back four played superbly
and were well organised and strong in the tackle and well
screened by the midfield.
Chequer felt slightly aggrieved to be
at 0-0 at half time, but the 'unbeatable Thistle' myth
had exploded - Goring had looked bereft of ideas and shocked
that they weren't coasting another easy game.
Chequer continued to play with iron will
and determination in the second half challenging for every
loose ball and taking the game to Thistle.
We were rewarded after 60 minutes with
a strike from Danny Gainsford, who broke from midfield
and advanced into the box to hit a low fierce shot from
8 yards that the keeper could not get down to.
Thistle seemed even more shocked to find
themselves a goal down, and we were encouraged to see
them arguing among themselves.
Danny twice more broke from midfield
in quick succession and twice narrowly missed the goal
with chipped efforts. Matt Bailey then kept us in the
game with a superb finger tip save from a deflected shot.
Shortly afterwards Si Price, who had begun to find a lot
of room cutting in from the left, showed superb skill
to leave 3 defenders in his wake - his cut back from the
by-line was misread by James O'Neill and a golden chance
James finally found the target with 10
minutes on the clock when a cross from Si Price was nodded
into his path by Danny Gainsford and this time he made
no mistake from 10 yards with his right boot.
Chequer saw the game out without being
genuinely threatened again. Special credit
must go to the back four of Tom Pickford, Sean Hourigan,
Adam Price and Steve Duffett who showed great understanding
to keep a clean sheet against the division's top scorers.
There were some magnificent performances
today, notably from Gareth & Danny in the centre of
midfield, but yet again the man of the match has to be
Sean Hourigan whose positioning, tackling, distribution
and reading of the game were outstanding.