The teams met in the group stages back in April where a 2-0 Chesterton win, courtesy of goals from Tom Cox and Scott Smith, saw them to Group E with a 100% record. Hatherop went through in second place, edging out Jovial Monk on goal difference. This means that three of the four teams in Group E made it to either the Trophy or Shield semi-final stage. Tough group.
In the Last 16 phase I watched Hatherop fight out a hard-earned 0-0 draw with Redhouse before progressing on penalties (Rop Spot On). Chesterton actually went down 4-1 to Step 7 Purton but were later awarded the tie by the organisers after Purton were deemed to have played an illegible player. Ito the Quarter-Finals. Hatherop once again went to penalties after coming from behind to earn a superb 3-3 draw at Shrewton, whilst Chesterton were 2-0 winners at Minety.
Despite the fact that, officially, Hatherop play two steps higher than Chesterton at the moment. Chesterton ended the previous season with a 100% record and had rattled in 35 goals in their 8 matches. In a normal season they probably would have been promotes for the second successive season. Add to that their win in the group stage and they were going into this game as favourites.
Chesterton lived up to their billing from the first minute, immediately putting their opponents on the back foot.
Only three minutes had passed when the home side took the lead. Hatherop's keeper was forced into a diving save when a long range effort bounced just before it reached him. He managed to parry the ball away but only into the path of Chalmers Phin who stroked the rebound home. 1-0
Chesterton didn't let up and seemed to have so much time and space, especially in midfield, that Hatherop just couldn't get a grip of the game at all. Twelve minutes in the home side doubled their lead and it was that man Scott Smith, who scored five the last time I watched Chesterton, volleying a dipping drive over the keeper and just below the bar. 2-0
The second goal spurred Hatherop a little and with 17 minutes on the click they produced their best move of the half. Their number 9 was set free down the right wing. His low cross was met by the Number 14 running into the box at pace. Unfortunately, he couldn't keep his effort down and the ball sailed over the bar. A promising move though.
Two minutes later, as if to quell any thoughts Hatherop had of a comeback, Chesterton launched an attack down their own right flank. The ball was crossed deep towards the far post where Tom Cox met it with his head sending the ball against the post and then the keeper before it nestled in the back of the net. 3-0
With the game as good as over and only just over half an hour on the clock, it is testament to Hatherop's willingness to keep playing that the score remained the same for the final 15 minutes of the half. Will Power did have a good long range effort turned around the post just before the break, but the home side could not find another way through the green defensive line.
HT Chesterton 5 Hatherop 0. All one-way traffic. Chesterton have found way too much space and time all over the field. A change of Rop formation after the third goal slowed the onslaught for a short time, but Chesterton just had too much for Hatherop.
Early in the half they won a couple of free-kicks just outside the Chesterton box, but both were put well over the bar. It would have been interesting to see what happened if either, or even both, had gone in. I don't for one minute think that Chesterton would have unravelled if they had conceded but the extra confidence that it would have given Hatherop may well have made for a much more lively second half. As it was Chesterton looked to be confident in their defence, although Hatherop did give them a few more scares than in the first half. Unfortunately for the away side the final ball or shot was just lacking on the day.
As we approached the last 10 minutes Chesterton once more applied a bit of pressure. A shot from outside the box was half blocked and span away as if going for a corner. The Rop defence, and most of the Chesterton players, gave it up for a corner but not Phi, who chased it down and found himself with the ball at his feet and in a load of space close to the touchline. he looked up and slid over a lovely pass for Tom Cox to slot home. 6-0
FT Chesterton 6 Hatherop 0. A comfortable win for Chesterton. The game was effectively over before half-time but credit to Hatherop for coming out in the second half and making much more of a game of it. Two more goals from Scott Smith, that's seven he has scored in the two Chesterton games I have seen.
Chesterton: White, Stratford, Walker, Moorcroft, Pitts, D.Jones(c), Phin, Power, Cox, K.Jones, Smith. Subs: McSherry, Perry, Fragnioli
Ground Number: Re-visit