City began the long
trek towards Wembley even earlier than previously
following the restructuring of the competition. The
yellow and black hordes descended on the tiny ground of
their Ryman Division 1 opposition slightly incredulous
that the game was still on in the pouring rain.
Chertesy's pitch was obviously in better condition than
the rest of their ground though, and despite the
torrential downpour and the high winds the game went
previous week's 10-0 stuffing of Sudbury hopes were
understandably high, and it soon became apparent Chertsey
lacked the physical presence in defence to withstand the
Gloucester attack. Callinan had an early chance, but most
of the early activity was in the centre of the park where
both sides were sliding in somewhat rashly. Webb was
first in the book (no really), with a few Chertsey
players soon following.
Burns thought he'd
given City a lead in the 24th minute, but his goal was
disallowed for a handball by Kemp in the earlier mêlée.
Both teams were finding it difficult to keep their
footing, City suffering the most as the forwards slipped
as they tried to steady themselves for shots. Hemmings
was proving typically tricky, but several times fell as
he tried to make the telling cross. It was Hemmings who
eventually made the advantage tangible when he ran on to
a beautiful chip over the top from Webb, leaving Hemmo to
round the keeper and score. Minutes later Mings made it
two, latching onto a Holloway pass to shoot, initially at
the keeper, but into the net on the second attempt.
With the second
half sending the intrepid T-Enders down to the uncovered
end of the ground it seemed inevitable that the rain
should accelerate from heavy to torrential rainforest
downpour. However the soaked away fans barely noticed as
their team confirmed their superiority. A keeping change
couldn't save Chertsey when Mings went on a storming run
that saw defenders bounce off him before he easily
ghosted past the new arrival for his second.
The pressure was
all from City as Mings almost got his third after a pacey
charge from Holloway. A 4th did come though, as Hemmings
and Mings exchanged passes and Hemmo's pace sent him onto
the return before the demoralised defence could prevent
him rifling home. The goal glut was completed when Mings'
strength won the ball for Hemmings to send the ball
trickling along the heavy pitch to complete a memorable
if wet hatrick.
must have some how mimicked a rain dance as minutes later
the rain became ridiculous and all but the hardy (or
insane) scuttled for cover. The game became a farce in
the conditions and both teams resorted to long balls to
minimise the chances of making an embarrassing mistake.
Keeling replaced the hatrick hero, and almost scored with
his first touch but his shot skidded straight at the
keeper. Gary Thorne almost made that embarrassing error
as he slipped and diverted the ball past Mokler, but
fortunately onto the bar rather than into his own net.
Chertsey bravely made a fight back but couldn't grab the
consolation goal their sheer friendliness had deserved.