With the Stags looking in impressive form midweek and off the back of an impressive 7 match unbeaten run in the league, we made the short journey to CLS in confident mood. With the players and manager wanting to show some love to long suffering assistant manager Jackie Traynor (see below) the mood in the camp was high.
The game started with CLS dominating the play, Fish saving with his feet from Esh’s top scorer last season, and soon to be a thorn in the side, Andrew Clarkson. The resulting corner seeing a deep ball into the box, Lee Mole getting up for the header, which looked to be looping over Fish, who used his 6foot 6 frame to just get a finger on the ball to see it over.
12′ Goal Chester Le Street 1 (Clarkson) – 0 Esh Winning
With a goal looking more and more likely a soft corner was given away by the Esh defence, with another deep ball putting in, Andrew Clarkson climbs above Max Stoker to nod the ball in from 6 yards out to give CLS a deserved lead. The Esh defence livid at no foul being given after perceived shirt pulling and climbing in the box.
With the next 10 minutes looking a little more even a chance fell to the stags, a lofted ball into the CLS box from right back Joe Gill looked all the world to be meat and drink for keeper Jack Wilson. Wilson gets both hands on it but still manages to drop it under no pressure and lands on his back, Dan Mann not believing his luck turns to stroke the ball into the net only for the felled Wilson to be in the perfect place to smother the ball whilst not moving a msucle, a let off.
Wilson found himself having a torrid time in the wet conditions and after flapping at another cross into the box the ball fell to Reece Brown 18 yards out, hitting a half volley only to be deflected wide by a flying block to give Esh a corner.
The corner from Dan Mann the ball was cleared to 20 yards out the dropping ball exquisitely met by a volley from Reece Brown again, whistling past the right post when from all the world it looked to be flying in.
That was the best period in the game for the stags, the final two chances of the half falling to Lee Mole and Dan McGuire respectively, the prior blazing over a glorious opportunity with a ball finding him 6 yards out from a corner. McGuire seizing on a slip from Joe Wilkinson and bearing down on Fish’s goal a fingertip save denying him.
From the resulting corner came a key point in the game, Fish dropping the ball and a scramble ensuing, Fish down low got his hand stood on requiring the substitution at half time.
HT: Chester Le Street 1 – 0 Esh Winning
With the Stags making three changes at half time, including Carl Robinson coming on for his debut in place of the stricken Fish who was unable to make a fist, a fast start was asked for, alas that was not the case.
49′ Goal Chester Le Street 2 (Hepplewhite Pen) – 0 Esh Winning
A long ball forward fell to that man again Andrew Clarkson, who bursts into the right hand side of the box with Gav Brown in pursuit, bundling Clarkson over the referee has no hesitation and awards Chester Le Street a Penalty. Michael Hepplewhite steps up and slots the ball to the top right hand corner of the goal, sending Robinson the wrong way in the process.
From the restart came Esh’s best chance, and worst moment, of the second half. With Reece Brown looking dangerous on the right wing he cuts in and rips a left footed shot which is deflected just wide, with looking at the ball i’m alerted to a potential issue for Brown with a yell of agony. On taking the shot he has taken a nasty knock to the instep of his Left foot, with all three substitutions being made he bravely plays the remaining 40 minutes of the match, his impact all but nullified by the injury and that moment effectively ending the chance of a comeback.
The last real chance of the game for Esh fell to Gav Brown on the 55th minute, turning and shooting over from 25 yards.
A couple of half chances for CLS with them controlling the game at this point saw McGuire hit a viscous effort towards the Esh goal narrowly missing with Robinson rooted to the spot. Lee Mole with the games last chance was clean through one on one, somehow managing to steer the ball wide when it looked harder to miss.
FT: Chester Le Street 2 – 0 Esh Winning
Possibly a game to far for an Esh side carrying a few knocks and missing a couple of key players today. It is an achievement in itself to go 7 unbeaten in the league, and certainly no complaints on the day, Chester Le Street very deserved winners.
We take our campaign back to West Terrace next Saturday with the visit of Ryton & Crawcrook Albion. Just to clarify this is a change to the previously advertised Friday night game, it is now taking place on Saturday 7th October with a 3pm kick off.
Esh XI: Fish (Robinson 45′), Gill, Swift, Stoker (c), G. Brown, Wilkinson, Bailey (Arnott ’45), Allison, Kent (Wigley 45′), Mann, R. Brown
Unused Subs: Taylor, Summerson
CLS XI: Wilson, King, Surrey, Hepplewhite (g), Ridley, Lyon, McGuire, Mergan (c), Clarkson (g), Mole, White
Subs: Grayver, Eden, Whisker
Referee: M. Studholme
Assistants: J. Lee, J. Love
Please note all views above are that of the reporter and in no way way represent those of Esh Winning Football Club.