Chertsey Town’s last home game of the season was a bitter sweet affair in that they won one of their more vital games of the season, but did so at the cost of losing Craig Bradshaw, a key component in Town’s push for the league championship.
Goalkeeper Bradshaw sustained a ruptured Achilles tendon midway through the first half of a tight contest and although he struggled on for the remainder of the game, his injury has ruled him out for the remainder of the season.
The quest for a replacement with dispensation from the league to make a late signing was immediately put into place.
Town boss Spencer Day is hopeful this can be achieved but it has not done Chertsey’s slender chances of overtaking their only one prime rivals now, that bit more difficult.
Guildford City also won their game on the same afternoon and time is starting to run out on the Curfew challenge.
The exchange between Chertsey and Camberley was a must win outcome for both sides if either were to retain pressure at the top of the Combined Counties League table.
The result was a tight and relentless match that created few goal scoring chances.
Those that did come were gilt edged but spurned. League top scorer Phil Page had two superb second half opportunities to find the net with only goalkeeper Chris Foster to block the way, which the defender did both times.
It was just as well then that Chertsey had already nosed ahead with what turned out to be the only goal of the game.
That came on nine minutes with the most basic attacking tactic in the book, but one that still finds regular success, much to the chagrin of the purists.
A long booted clearance from Bradshaw bounced once, just inside the Camberley box. Tom O’Regan raced to the ball and with the outside of his left foot, clipped it over the advancing Foster.
The ball connected one more time with the ground before nestling into the back of the net making the task of scoring goals look oh so easy.
This was a deception because goal scoring looked anything but simple for the following 81 minutes.
Both defences held up extremely well, but with Chertsey’s winning the accolade for not only totally shutting out their opponents, but doing it whist protecting their crocked goal keeper for more than an hour.
Bradshaw made an awkward connection when clearing the ball in a sweeper’s role, far outside his own domain.
Extensive treatment was administered that allowed him to stay on the park but it was almost as painful to watch him hobble about the six yard area as it must have been for him to endure such discomfort whist being put under pressure from the red and white shirts.
He did all that was necessary but was also protected well by a back line that worked as hard as seen all season. Despite winning a succession of petty free kicks within striking distance, the visitors were not able to exploit the situation.
Joe Paris for the visitors had a couple of half hearted shots which, even so, were more than the Chertsey forward line was able to muster at that stage; but the end product was still the same – no prizes.
The second half started explosively for Camberley as Adam Cornell broke into the clear but his shot was off target from a strong position.
This early warning after the break should have heralded regular probing mortar clearances over the rear of the Chertsey back line to channel into the vulnerable Bradshaw but strong midfield play from Chertsey stopped further incursions by that route.
Instead, Camberley launched a number of aerial crosses deep into Chertsey territory but time and again it was the home defence that found the ball first.
It was not until the final ten minutes before, a coupler of times, the ball became a free agent in front of goal.
Once more the Chertsey defence rose to the occasion and cleared with Bradshaw sometimes being forced into being a spectator, abet with a high nuisance value.
The net result was a Chertsey triumph that was deeply felt by the Krooner Park squad given a string of terse reactions after the final whistle which ended up with Chertsey’s inexperienced youngster Lee Weemes being shown red.