JC MSFL DIVISION ONE
NORSTAR A 2 CHIGWELL ATHLETIC 1
The Manager of the Month curse hit Chigwell's Richard Slater at the Ark on Sunday as an inspired 10 minutes saw Norstar score the goals they needed to retain their 100 per cent record and draw level with their opponents at the top of the table.
Despite having relinquished a couple of players to the B team to enable them to get their game on, Norstar were able to put out a strong team who felt capable of getting the win.
But it was Chigwell who started the game brightest and would have taken the lead within the first 10 seconds had it not been for a smart save from Ben De La Fuente who seemed to be the only Star awake for the 10am kick-off.
Chigwell had the best of the first half, with the Norstar back-line in disarray for the first 30 minutes allowing the visitors to dominate, and they had a great shout for a penalty turned down by the excellent John Feenstra who ruled that the initial infringement had taken place outside of the box.
Norstar also had chances to open the scoring with Adam Jason and even left-back Jamie Freed going close.
Whilst Chigwell filled up on individually-packed fruit salads, Norstar spent the half-time break re-organising their defence and listening to some harsh truths from the management who weren't impressed with what they'd seen. Fired up, it wasn't long before they made Chigwell pay.
Ten minutes into the second-half Jeremy Elster released Jason who outmuscled the centre-back and managed to fire the ball across the keeper and into the roof of the next.
Minutes later, Simon Perlmutter put in a deep cross that the Chigwell goalkeeper was unable to hold leaving Jason to score his second, passing the ball into an empty net.
Norstar then had the ball in the back of the net for a third time after Perlmutter's short smashed against the crossbar before Jason and the Houri managed to get the ball across the line. A crazy decision from the linesman, who admitted that they were offside only when the ball came back off the bar, meant the Feenstra ruled out the goal.
Chigwell then started to threaten and were determined to salvage at least a point. Moving to 4-4-2, they immediately started to look more threatening and the Norstar management responded with some tactical substitutions.
The Norstar defence had looked impenetrable in the second half with Jeff Gotch and Josh Pistol continuing to develop a fine understanding. However, Chigwell's Craig Pearl was able to find some space after losing his marker and scored a tidy goal from 18 yards leaving De La Fuente with no chance.
The goal didn't rattle Norstar who continued to attack and they could have had a third late on when substitute Jonathan Peters took the ball round the keeper only to lose his footing at the vital moment.
The game ended 2-1 without any more significant scares to either goal.
Delighted Norstar boss Phil Peters told JC Sport: "This was a hugely important result that keeps our great league run going.
"Chigwell were the best team we've played this season and after the first half I'd have probably taken the draw.
"However some excellent attacking play and resilient defending in the second half gave us a well-deserved victory.
"Next up we're playing Southgate Harmen who aren't in great form but we're taking nothing for granted and will be going all out for another win."
Chigwell player-manager Richard Slater told JC Sport: "We didn't take our chances when we dominated the first half, plus two clear penalties were not given.
"A sloppy 10-minute spell in the second half cost us. Our play deserved something from today, but if you don't take your chances you don't win football matches."