A few weeks ago I saw Hayes & Yeading impressively dispatch local rivals Uxbridge in the new Bostik South Central division. United are yet to run away from the chasing pack in a testament to the strength of the Bostik League's newest division. Up there with them are Bracknell Town and Cheshunt, both have also had impressive starts to the campaign. The hosts for the evening Cheshunt are currently fifth, four points behind Bracknell who are second.
Cheshunt will have been encouraged by their start after a tough year in the Bostik North last season. The Ambers drew and lost their opening two games to promotion rivals Hayes & Yeading and Waltham Abbey respectively. Since then, they've won six of eleven games. They've lost a little momentum with two draws and a defeat to Hanwell Town in the league this month. The Ambers, however, are unbeaten at home in the league.
Bracknell Town are second top scorers in the division behind the prolific Hayes (have I mentioned them yet?). The Robins won their first five league games before being pegged back by the chasing pack when the cup competitions kicked in. They have drawn their last two games 2-2 against Hanwell Town and Chalfont St Peter. Their last league defeat, however, was exactly a month ago against Uxbridge.
For a full preview you can read Cheshunt's excellent online programme
Cheshunt overcome Bracknell, the rain, and the cold
Competition: Bostik South Central Division
Ground: The Stadium Cheshunt
Programme: Free (online)
Refreshments: £2 (two teas)
Dogs spotted: None
The roads were unusually quiet on the way up to Cheshunt. Maybe it was the weather. The rain was driving down and it was accompanied by an icy chill in the air. Either way, for the first time in my liveblog series I arrived with plenty of time spare. It was my second visit to Cheshunt's ground, having seen a 3-3 draw with Mildenhall Town just over a year ago. It's a modern venue that you almost expect to have a plastic pitch, given its pristine feel. The pitch, however, is still grass and a bit more fencing has been added since my last visit.
The crowd numbered 112, less than the Ambers average, but healthy considering the conditions. The vast majority, including the referee's assessor, were packed into the seating area making for a good atmosphere and some shelter. One thing I remember from my previous visit is that a few lively tunes are played loud, before the game and at halftime. Tonight was no exception. Popular songs from across the decades rang out as I tried to copy the lineups onto the liveblog.
The rain fell for the majority of the game, making for tricky conditions. It's my working theory that it often takes sides used to 3G pitches a while to settle as they adjust back to turf. This was, in a way, borne out as Cheshunt had the best of the early exchanges. The visitors began to settle and had the best chance of the first half. Grant rattled the post with a shot from the edge of the box. Grant's battle with the Cheshunt left back Awotwi was one of the interesting facets of the game.
In the second half, Cheshunt again started well and generally controlled most of the second period. As the pitch got wetter the Bracknell players seemed to find it increasingly tricky - I'm not sure if this disproves my plastic pitch theory or not. As the game became increasingly tense the home fans began to question a few of the referee's decisions as the assessor came under plenty of mock scrutiny. The home side, however, eventually made the breakthrough. Akinsanya got on the end of a through ball, controlled and finished well.
The home side then fell back behind the ball for a few mins, inducing some increased tension in the stands. They were, however, able to hold out a brief Bracknell assault. With a couple of minutes left of normal time substitute, Ali Cherenti burst down the right and stood the ball up to the back post. Akinsanya was on hand to leap highest and head home his second goal. It decided the game and Cheshunt kept up their unbeaten home record as well as moving up to third in the table. Bracknell remain above them in second.
Read the full liveblog below.