Report by Steve Price
On a bright chilly morning at the High School City Youth put in the effort, turned on the style and deservedly ran out winners. It was good to get back to winning ways - both sides recognising that this was an important 3 points that they were playing for, but in particular it was the performance that was so satisfying. Apart from a dodgy first 30 seconds when Minors seemed to stroll toward Thorn's area where (thankfully) Simmons was alert to the danger and cleared, Chi were 'at' the visitors from the start giving them no time to settle. Pressing, and pressing as a unit, was to bear dividends.
Chi's early commitment was rewarded within minutes. Price was quick to close-down and under pressure Minors lost possession, the ball reaching Leonard who made a penetrating run down the left forcing a corner. It was cleared but only as far as Daley out on the touch line, he hoisted the ball back in high and deep where Martin was stationed to nod the home side in to the lead. It wasn't long before Buckingham-Rhyder was bombing down the other flank, cutting in from the right and crossing but Leonard, stretching, couldn't get enough power on it to trouble the 'keeper. The pressure was building on the visitors and it was coming from all over the pitch; from centre-back Robinson surged forward and kept travelling as the space opened but this time his shot didn't ask enough questions of the goalie.
Chi looked confident and that attitude spread throughout the side, they tackled like they expected to win the 50-50s and as a consequence they did. Bennetts got the ball and drove at the heart of the defence looking for a one-two, the ball was steered out to Martin on the left who duly dinked the ball coolly over the 'keeper for his and the team's second. If it was the forwards who were particularly relishing the match it was the defenders who were providing the base for the good work, none more so than the full backs, Brennan, Fellick and Good who were tigerish in their resolve and full of energy getting forward whenever possible. Gallop too, whilst not yet fully fit, was terrific alongside Daley in front of the back line.
It was nearly 3 as Martin spotted Price's run but the 'keeper was quickly off his line to smother. A further plus was that Wallis was now on, another of the players returning from injury. Bennetts was fouled, the ref let play run but the captain's shot went over. The ref considering the challenge worthy of a free-kick brought play back. The angle suited White's left foot, he struck it well, the ball deflecting off the wall and in. 3-0, the 'keeper no chance. It had been the best half of football from the boys all season.
The challenge now was to keep it up as there was sure to be a response from the visitors, no bad team themselves. If there was a cameo to encapsulate the effort in the game it was from Brennan as he refused to be thrown off by the twists and turns of Minors' tall, rangy midfielder. It was a great duel and the fullback wasn't going to be the loser. Simmons stepped out of the back line to intercept a pass and seeing his chance he surged forward and over the half way line. Playing the ball to White on the flank he continued his run, the cross was deep, Simmons met it but his header flew over. Thrilling stuff.
This free-flowing football was catching. Now it was the turn of Robinson to burst from defence, his run taking him deep in to the opposition half and down the right. He pinged his crosser over and Price did well to nip in front of the Worthing defender to gain the yard and steer it in. So, 4 - 0 and hugely deserved.
Worthing hadn't played badly but Chi had enjoyed a particularly good day; it hadn't been lucky it had been earned right across the pitch. Chi can go in to the County Cup quarter final next week with confidence and with players fast returning to full fitness. Exciting times!
Team: Thorn, Brennan, Simmons, Robinson, Fellick, Bennetts, Daley, Leonard, Martin, Buckingham-Rhyder, Price, Gallop, Wallis, Good, White.
Man of the Match: Robinson