CHALFONT ST PETER 0 EGHAM TOWN 1
By Tempest Ward
Nervy win keeps Sarnies ahead of Kings
EVO-STIK SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL
SATURDAY 9 APRIL 2016
CHALFONT ST PETER 0 (0) EGHAM TOWN 1 (0)
Own goal (54)
Egham Town held on to top place in the Southern League Central division with this vital win against Chalfont St Peter, against whom they have now done the double twice in three seasons. The home side were looking for a win that would nudge them into the play-off places and came to this match with three straight, clean sheet, wins. They also have in Tony Mendy a striker with 29 league goals to his name.
On a difficult pitch with random undulations under its sloping green carpet Egham found it hard to play to their strengths. While they were busy finding their feet the Saints were just about on top and in the 11th minute had the ball in Jamie Norris’ net as Craige Tomkins took advantage of a rather ugly gap between centre backs Luke Neville and Reece Yorke. However the assistant referee had a long discussion with the referee and the goal was chalked off. That was the last time the excellent Norris was in any danger as his defenders held firm. Both teams created the beginnings of chances that didn’t quite lead to anything as passes were not quite right, or defenders read the situation and cleared. The match was beginning to resemble last season’s, with two evenly matched sides creating much in chances but missing those that did arise, before Egham crashed 1-4 in a fogbound farce. The weather was kinder today. The clearest opening came towards the end of the first half as Bajram Pashaj played in Chris Moore, whose cross shot was very nearly turned in at the back post by Callum Webb.
That was Webb’s last contribution as he and Moore gave way to Chris Henry and Brendan Matthew at half-time. The changes, and playing down the slope perhaps, seemed to give the Sarnies the edge. Pashaj was seeing more of the ball and Henry was able to have a go at taking on the home defence. Nine minutes in Egham took the lead in somewhat fortuitous fashion when, from a Pashaj corner, Henry rose to head the ball towards goal. Home keeper Gary Malone may have dealt with it, but we will never know because the Saints skipper Alan Hedley also rose, and in so doing perhaps made the vital contact to turn the ball into his own net. Hedley won't want that against his name; we're giving the goal to Mr Henry. Egham now had something to defend and when Mendy threatened Neville timed his interception to perfection. Mendy then fired a shot just wide of the left post, and later lobbed an effort over Norris’ bar. With 77 minutes gone Henry ended a surge down the right with an audacious chip that sailed over a panicking Malone and hit the cross bar. With ten minutes left and with Sarnies’ travelling support getting a tad fretful their mood was not helped when leading scorer Matthew went down injured. After treatment he came back on but was soon down again, to be replaced by defender Mitchell Gutteridge. Neville denied Michael Murray the chance to trouble Norris with another excellent tackle and Mendy controlled a long punt by Malone before lobbing over the bar again before, with at least six minutes of time added on by the referee the final whistle was blown.
Word went round that Godalming Town had taken the lead at Royston Town, their late goal being enough to beat The Crows and do Egham a big favour. Meanwhile Kings Langley stayed level with Egham, both now on 78 points after the Kings won 2-0 at Barton Rovers. St Ives drew 1-1 at Beaconsfield SYCOB and AFC Rushden & Diamonds won 1-0 at home to Hanwell Town. Aylesbury are sitting outside the play off places but with enough games in hand to upset the top five. They can match the Sarnies’ and Kings’ points tally, but with an inferior goal difference.
Egham are now at home twice, against Fleet Town on Tuesday and AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday, before playing at Royston Town on 23 April.