Long Crendon progressed to the second round of the Chairman’s Challenge Cup with a 4-1 win over Chalfont Wasps at their new adopted home of Oxford City FC.
With their current Recreation Ground not at Step 6 standard, Crendon’s hand has been forced in terms of a groundshare that will allow them to seek promotion at the end of the season should they finish high enough.
For this first game at Court Place Farm, manager Ryan Davis was forced into one change, with Joe Russell coming in for the unavailable James Hawkes. Perhaps it was the novelty of playing on the perfect 3G surface but Crendon’s passing was strangely sloppy in the first period and although Harry Pettingell and Oli Lethbridge tested the Chalfont keeper, they were largely comfortable until the last minute of the half. Eliot Farley produced some nimble footwork on the right flank and stood up a perfect ball to the back post, which Nathan Brownsword nodded home to continue his remarkable run of goalscoring form.
Half time: 1-0.
If it was hoped that the goal would settle any Crendon nerves, they were jolted further when Chalfont got an equaliser out of the blue. Nick Little latched on to Tom Lethbridge’s clearing header and rifled a swerving shot home from 25 yards. As it was, though, this was as good as it got for Chalfont. Crendon’s one goal lead was soon restored in bizarre fashion when Dino Bonwick’s overhit cross slipped through the goalkeeper’s hands and though he scrambled back in panic, he couldn’t prevent it going over the line. Two minutes later and the game was effectively won. Brownsword’s raking ball set Oli Lethbridge free and as the keeper came out recklessly, Lethbridge headed over him to make it 3-1. Further gloss was then added to the scoreline when the Chalfont keeper first dawdled on the ball and then cleared straight to Eliot Farley, who kept his cool and slotted home.
Full Time: 4-1
Team: Collingwood, B Sykes (Hawthorne), Bonwick, T Lethbridge, A Farley (c), Brownsword (Reilly), E Farley, H Pettingell, Russell, A Pettingell (T Sykes), O Lethbridge.
Manager Ryan Davis said afterwards: “I felt the occasion got to us a bit in the first half and adjusting to the new surroundings meant we weren’t at our best but it’s hard to argue with the result in the end. It was pleasing that we reacted so well to conceding as we haven’t had to deal with that lately. It’s hard to keep our forward players quiet, if one’s having an off day then the others chip in and that’s a great sign for us. Progress in cups was something we identified as an area we could improve on this season and so I’m delighted to be fighting on multiple fronts”