Isthmian League Premier Division Sat 12 August The Pilot Field
Hastings Utd
  • (Pen) (45')
  • Meehan (29')

Light showers left the pitch with a slick passing surface, ideally suited to the Amber’s passing game. The opening quarter was an even affair with neither side finding a finish worthy of a goal. For Hastings, centre forward Femi Akinwande out paced the Ambers defence but then shot weakly into keeper Joe Rose’s arms, for the Ambers James Meehan set Bobby Unwin for a shot, but too close to the keeper to cause problems. A Hastings free kick was well defended, and a George Morrall header went wide. 

The 900+ crowd started to buzz when the dangerous Akinwande again burst through the Ambers defence, shooting early & beating Rose but not the goalpost, Rose was alert to the second ball & blocked the follow up. Moments later James Meehan showed the crowd how to finish, when the Ambers press won the ball back in the Hastings half,  Isiah Noel-Williams played a pass into the inside left channel & Meehan took a touch to the right & buried it into the far corner for the lead. 

James Meehan strikes.                                                     Photo Copyright

  Hastings came back strongly in front of their home crowd & put the Ambers defence under pressure, Harlain Mbayo & Fin Titchmarsh making league debuts were kept busy & the latter was unlucky to mistime a tackle stretching  in the box when the tricky Davide Rodari back heeled a ball into the path of John Ufua to concede a penalty on the stroke of half time.  Akinwande despatched the spot kick to send the teams to the break level at 1-1.

Cheshunt’s fast pass & move football left the Hastings midfield chasing shadows at times, the always available Nathaniel Orafu moving Cheshunt forward, giving Bobby Unwin opportunities to cut back first for James Meehan & then substitute Marcus Sablier, former Dulwich keeper Charlie Grainger well positioned to make the saves, looking a lot more comfortable with the ball on the floor than in the air where a series of mis timed flaps suggested the Ambers might profit from the second ball in the area. 

Some of the decision making felt a little harsh at times during the second half, whereas the first half had been good. Offering the home side the drop ball on the edge of the Cheshunt area after a head injury stoppage when in similar circumstances at the other end of the pitch the ball was dropped to the home keeper?  & a firm shout for a penalty waved away after the energy of Isiah Noel-Williams drove the home defence into hasty retreat leading to a handball, were the two in particular that got the away support muttering.

Nathaniel Orafu advances.                                              Photo Copyright

The Ambers new attacking instincts continued to see them pressing for the three points, forcing several corners in the latter stages & mixing up the deliveries to keep Hastings guessing. A George Morrall, Jamie Reynolds switch produced a cross that beat everyone as it curled across the box, with Harlain Mbayo only just missing out on an open goal at the far post. 

A sound opening match with attractive football & plenty of positives. League debuts for eight players in a new look Cheshunt and two home games versus Billericay & Chatham this week to enjoy