Lock The Key Man In Eight Goal Thriller

by Andrew Finch

Molesey 3-5 Chertsey  

Scored :Baxter(p)40', Baxter(p)65', Bent 72'

Ten man Molesey succumbed to their eighth defeat in their last eleven league games in a bizarre encounter against neighbours Chertsey Town at Walton Road, with two Kevin Lock goals helping the Curfews to a 5-3 victory.

The Moles got off to the worst possible start in controversial circumstances inside 60 seconds, as a corner was swung over from the Molesey left and Steve Goddard was left all alone at the far post to place a header beyond keeper Sheik Ceesay, but not Rob Lewis, who fell and blocked his effort on the line.  The ball fell to the prolific John Pomroy two yards out who smashed the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy.  However, to the disbelief of most inside the ground, the ref adjudged that Lewis had used his arm to keep the ball out, and promptly awarded a penalty, and to rub salt in the wounds, showed the big centre half a red card.

The reaction of Lewis as he headed for the changing rooms, as well as that of one or two Chertsey players seemed to suggest that the ref had got the decision wrong and the ball had in fact hit his chest, and that belief was given further credibility by the fact the ref gestured that Lewis had moved his arm towards the ball to keep it out, which certainly appeared not to be the case.

Pomroy tucked away the resulting penalty to keep up his incredible scoring record, with his ninth goal in his opening sixth games to go with last season’s 48 goals from 46 games.

With first choice centre halves Moses Spencer and Joe Yeates both unavailable due to work commitments, this setback left the Moles with the proverbial mountain to climb, and as hard done by as they must have felt by the ref’s decision, they could blame no one but themselves for their inability to defend, as a further two Chertsey goals before ten minutes were on the clock effectively ended the game as a contest.

The second goal arrived on six minutes, as a long throw, again down the Molesey left, saw Goddard flick on at the near post, and when Sam Lampard failed to make any meaningful contact with his attempted clearance, the ball fell invitingly to Matt Francis on the edge of the box.  Ceesay got a hand to his sweetly struck volley, but could not prevent it from hitting the back of the net.

Just two minutes later it was three, as a corner from the Molesey right this time saw Gavin Bamford run unopposed into the Molesey box, and he slid an effort past Ceesay from close range.

With the Moles fans now worried that the title favourites would rack up a cricket score, to the players’ credit, they battled back, and after just eleven minutes had clawed one back from the penalty spot.

As the ball was played over the top of the Chertsey defence by James McShane, Matt Baxter tussled with Stuart Bamford, and the Chertsey man stuck out an arm to prevent the ball reaching Baxter, resulting in the ref pointing to the spot.  Although it was unlikely that Baxter had been denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity, the lack of a card of any sort infuriated the Molesey fans behind the goal.
Baxter tucked away the resulting penalty.

For the rest of the half the one man disadvantage did not hinder the Moles, as they played some of the best football of their league season, and their efforts to get back into the game were assisted by a multitude of bizarre referring decisions, who seemed eager to make up for his earlier indiscretion by awarding the Moles free kicks virtually every time the ball was played in the air and won by a Chertsey head, with the commanding Stuart Bamford the main victim of his constantly-blown whistle.

The Moles were unfortunate when Curfews keeper Liam Stone spilt a routine cross after half an hour, with the ball falling kindly to a Chertsey defender, then shortly afterwards a quickly taken free kick – probably harshly awarded – and good link up play between Lampard and Peter Adewumi-Martin saw Lampard play in a cross for the unmarked McShane.  His header was well tipped over by Stone, although had the young midfielder played it either side of the keeper the likelihood is he would’ve reduced the deficit further.

The ref again came to the fore by giving Lampard a gentle ticking off for an ugly lunge on Goddard, with the former AFC Wimbledon youngster receiving a caution shortly afterwards for preventing yet another Molesey free-kick from being taken quickly.  Steve Brown received the same leniency as Lampard for a waist-high tackle on Andy Crossley inside the Chertsey half, although the Moles were almost immediately punished, as a long ball sailed over the defence and fell kindly to Lock to finish neatly past Ceesay, leaving the Moles with the unwanted statistic of having conceded at least four goals in three of their opening five league fixtures.

Lock added a fifth three minutes after the restart, driving past Ceesay from the edge of the box, before Baxter got his fourth in his last two games shortly afterwards, again from the spot after a ridiculously lenient penalty award.

When Owen Bent drilled Molesey’s third goal past Stone midway through the half after good build up play between Baxter and McShane, Chertsey decided to sit on their lead, with Moles boss Steve Webb opting for a bold 3-3-3- formation, and despite having the territorial advantage, did not seriously test Stone again, with an acrobatic effort from Andy Graves that cleared Stone’s bar the closest they came.

However, the man in the middle had not yet finished for the day, showing Goddard a second yellow with 15 minutes remaining for a shoulder barge on Adewumi-Martin.  To be fair Goddard had long since given up on playing and was more intent on contesting every decision, so his loss did not greatly affect the visitors.

The Moles will look to take as many positives from the afternoon as possible ahead of what is already being billed as a must-win game at Croydon on Wednesday, before an FA Cup tie against Bashley – currently flying high in the Zamaretto Premier Division – next  Saturday.


Line-up:  Sheik Ceesay, Peter Adewumi-Martin, Luke Elliott, Andy Graves, Ollie Dicks, Rob Lewis, Sam Lampard, Steve Brown [C], Matt Baxter, Owen Bent, James McShane (Michael Riggon 81).  Subs (not used: Phil Dexter, Danny Roberts, Ross Defoe, Paul Jones.