Chadlington First Team hosted Wootton Sports on Saturday in Division One and ran out 5-2 winners in an entertaining game.
Both teams were level on points and goal difference in the league with Wootton placed 4th above Chad split only on goals scored for.
From the team last week Matt Chadwick and Mark Corbett were unavailable but into the side came Jacob Hazlewood from suspension and Josh Gray. With no Reserve Team game this week both veteran striker George Slatter and James Hobden were also drafted in. This was veteran striker Slatters first game ropey back in the blue and white stripes of the First Team since February 2015. On that day he scored twice to sink FC Nomads in the Junior Cup.
Chadlington started the game bright and were on the front foot throughout the opening stages. Veteran striker Slatter was soon making his presence known as he climbed high and headed home after just 10 minutes. The goal though was chalked off as he was adjudged to have gone through the keeper to get to the ball. A correct decision but it let the keeper and Wootton know that they were going to be in for a testing afternoon.
Chad just couldn't get the breakthrough and chances came and went. Wootton themselves were a danger and consistently tried to get in behind the back line of Dan Cleevely, Josh Betts, Josh Gray and Will Foster.
It took until the 30th minute for the scoring to be opened and it was a goal of pure class and quality. Will Foster on the right side forced forward and 25 yards out close to the touchline he sent in a low and pacey cross which was met by veteran striker Slatter 15 yards out. Using the pace of the cross he steered it with his veteran head accurately into the corner giving the keeper no chance. 1-0 Chad.
It was now time to kick on in the game but all they did was kick themselves in the foot. Just minutes after Chads goal, Wootton put another clever ball in behind the Chad backline. With keeper Luke Bayliss rooted and with the ball bouncing in ever decreasing bobbles, Cleevely attempted to head home but could not get enough on the ball and the Wootton striker pounced in and neatly slotted home. 1-1.
The game was now evenly balanced and despite Chad still being slightly on top the half time break slowly encroached with the home faithful were shuffling towards the warmth of Townsends Bar. However, those that turned away after a shot from Hans Korge had been collected by the Wootton keeper missed out on seeing Chad re-gain the lead as the ball was fumbled somehow into his own net. When the half time whistle eventually came, the home team were leading 2-1 and walked into the dressing room content.
The second half saw a further 4 goals scored but the first of these was not until the 60th minute when veteran striker Slatter grabbed his second of the game as his left foot shot found its way through a crowded penalty box into net. 3-1.
Just 5 minutes later the score was 4-1 and the game was effectively over. Proving his love for anything free / three, veteran striker Slatter completed a perfect hat-trick as he pounced on a parried shot from the keeper and dispatched with his veteran right foot.
As with most things he still wasn't content and grabbed his fourth of the game and Chadlingtons 5th goal 10 minutes from time as this time he veteranly backhealed it in. 5-1.
With game won and legs tiring Wootton got a consolation goal minutes from time as their striker cooley scored one on one with Bayliss to make the score at the final whistle 5-2. The 3 points now lifting Chad back into 4th in Division One, leapfrogging their opponents.
It was a good performance all round from the team and a welcome home victory. Undoubtedly though it was Slatter that stole the show in his first Division One game for 7 years. Since his debut for Chadlington in 2001 the veteran striker has now scored around 125 Witney & District goals in 150 games for both Chadlington and Chad Park not to mention numerous more goals in the Oxfordshire Senior League. On this weeks performance its clear that there are few more left in the tank and as perhaps not previously mentioned, it wasn't too bad.......for a veteran striker.
Team: Bayliss, Betts, Cleevely (c), Foster, Gray, E Bennett, Tate, J Walker, Korge, Woodward, Slatter. Subs: Hazlewood, Hobden.
Next Match: Saturday 19th February. AWAY v Bletchington. Div 1. 2pm ko