Adam Hinshelwood handed long-awaited debuts to goalkeeper, Carl Rushworth and, competitively, Summer signing, Cameron Tutt. Jalen Jones, Ricky Aguiar and Callum Kealy all dropped to the bench, with Lloyd Dawes keeping his place and Jasper Pattenden making his first start in this season’s Isthmian Premier. Marvin Armstrong made a welcome return amongst the substitutes, alongside the recalled, Fin Stevens.
It took fourteen minutes for the opening chance of the afternoon to arrive and it came via a run down the right wing by Reece Myles-Meekums, that ended with his byline backheel setting up Dawes for a shot that was turned around the post by Harry Girling in the home goal.
A poor clearance by Rushworth presented the first chance of a wet n’ ‘orrible day to the host’s on loan Dulwich forward, Dipo Akinyemi. Fortunately for Red’s new number one, the subsequent attempt was straight at him.
Jesse Starkey made room for a sighter that he couldn’t keep down before Joe Re switched play from left to right and Sammy Collins worked space for an effort just outside the area, forcing Rushworth into a scrambling low save
The intervention of a sliding Alfie Young deflected Cheshunt’s next effort safely back to the ‘keeper, after Collins had run on to Mo Camara’s flicked header.
Midway through the first-half, the deadlock was broken when Starkey lost possession on the right-hand touchline and Camara broke clear, before delivering an inch-perfect cross that an unmarked Akinyemi met with a textbook downward header, back across Rushworth.
Reece responded by racing away on the right but his ball into the box went untouched and past the far post for a goal-kick.
Alert netminding kept The Ambers from extending their lead, after Re robbed Pattenden and Ola Williams’ low centre saw quick reactions by Rushworth deny Camara and Ethan Nelson-Roberts eventually blasted over from long-range.
A slide and block tackle by Ben Pashley stopped the same player again moments later, while Rushworth needed two gos in keeping Re at bay.
Approaching the interval, an impressive build-up wasn’t matched by it’s end product, as Collins comfortably cleared the crossbar and Freddy Moncur had a first attempt stopped by a busy Carl, only to find the trees behind the target with his follow-up header.
Worthing matched their hosts with some neat passing of their own, resulting in Dawes teeing up Pattenden, whose curling twenty-yarder went agonisingly close to the top corner.
Reds had two chances to equalise in the early stages of the second period, both falling to Ollie Pearce. Firstly, his dash down the left concluded with Girling repelling his drive but no teammate was there to capitalise. Then, Meekums slipped him in, only for him to flash the ball behind .
Last-ditch defending was the order of the day, once Dawes had won possession on the right and ventured into the box, where Reece and Jasper were blocked in quick succession.
Collin’s burst down the same flank, going the other way, led to him winning a corner that came to nothing, shortly before (a possibly offside) Reece was upended in the penalty area by the out-paced, Taylor McKenzie. Dawsey compounded the centre-half’s misery by emphatically sending Girling the wrong way from the spot.
A brief game of water polo threatened to break-out until a quick free-kick by Camara saw
Ambrose Gnahore dart into the area; only for a passing family of ducks to take evasive action when his wild welly flew comfortably over the goal frame.
One sub skipped the challenge of another, when Armstrong got the better of Jordan Westcott and he drove forward to set-up Starkey for an attempt that Girling got down to fairly comfortably.
Not something he managed less than a minute later when, although he got the “going down “ bit right, he couldn’t compensate for the portable divot – made famous by Liverpool’s Stan Collymore and Steve McMananman in the mid-nineties, of course – that saw a fiercely-struck effort by Dawes skip up off the turf in front of him and end up in the back of the net.
However, I would be doing a disservice to Tutt, as his measured long pass down the inside-left channel was latched onto by Lloyd who proceeded to drift inside, past Captain, Mark Hughes and Nelson-Roberts before unleashing his (pile)driver from around twenty-two yards out.
The points were so nearly shared when Gnahore’s byline ball in needed Starkey to clear off the line to prevent Westcott levelling beyond the far stick.
One last hurrah fell to goalscorer, Akinyemi; only for his half-volley from the eighteen yard line to finish in the grateful gloves of Rushworth.