|North Greenford United||1|
In a crucial relegation battle played at Berkeley Fields on Tuesday evening North Greenford United were beaten 2-1 by a determined, well-organised Chertsey Town side, the team that, at the start of play, were lying just one place and one point above the Blues in the Evo-Stik Southern Division One Central table.
Chertsey dominated the early exchanges, winning several corners in quick succession in the openingminutes and putting pressure on the Greenford defence from the moment referee John Taafe blew his whistle to start the game.
In the twenty-third minute the Curfews eventually made their pressure count when striker Matthew Brunt got on the end of a ball driven into the United area to score with a well placed strike that gave keeper Andy Caesar no chance.
Greenford levelled the score on thirty-seven minutes when left midfielder Ashley Alexandra, who up to that point had been well contained by the Chertsey defence, managed to deliver a deep cross to the far post. The cross was met by Sean Hillier, playing in the right wing-back position, who produced a well-controlled volley beating Curfews keeper Jamie Norris and directing the ball across the six-yard box into the opposite corner.
United raised their performance at the start of the second period and for a time threatened to take control of the game. However, despite developing some promising moves the Blues were unable to break down the strong Chertsey back line and Norris was never seriously tested.
The turning point came with a little under twenty minutes of normal time remaining when referee Taafe awarded a controversial free-kick for handball against Greenford centre back Jamie Diston. From a good twenty-five yards Curfews left midfielder Steve Duff unleashed a powerful strike which beat the United wall and flew into the top corner leaving Caesar stranded.
In his efforts to salvage something from the match, Blues manager Neil Shipperley immediately brought on front players Zak Joseph and Paul Hamer, and later new signing Dean Wallace. But the Curfews remained in control at the back and in the end protected their narrow lead quite comfortably, earning three important points and moving the club up two places in the Central Division table.
Once again the Greenford players need to lift themselves in order to get back to winning ways in another crucial home game this Saturday against Leighton Town. Following that the Blues have two difficult away fixtures, at Daventry on Saturday week (31st March) followed by a midweek rearranged match against Woodford United on 3rd April.
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