Chipstead take top spot after win over Ide Hill

Kent County Division One West: Ide Hill 1 Chipstead 4

Chipstead ran out worthy winners in the top of the table clash at Wrotham on Saturday and in the process snatched top spot in the league from their local rivals at the half way stage of the season.

Due to injury and lack of availability, unfortunately, Ide Hill went in to kick off missing four of their first choice defenders, fielding something of a makeshift back line for their biggest game of the season.

And the start was evenly end to end, Chipstead breaking and attacking with poise, whilst Ide Hill always look sharp on the counter attack; a lovely floated Columb Grant long ball was pulled down on the run by Matt Bunn and his left footed strike was just tipped round the post by the Chipstead keeper.

Both teams continued to create chances in an equally matched first period, Mike McKay saving well with his legs to smother a one on one, whilst Shaun Boyle dragged one just wide of the post when well-placed centrally in the box, and Grant firing over the bar when clean through on the left side of the box.

It was Chipstead who took the lead in after 55 minutes though; Ide Hill who had caused problems all game from corners, then conceded from one, Chris Steadman evading his marker at the near post and powering home for 1-0.

Ide Hill tried to rally but the thin squad was beginning to tell in the second period and Chipstead got in again down the right, the Chipstead forward being pulled down in the box when through and Alfie Kitt slotted the penalty in to the right corner off the post to double the lead.

Ide Hill’s misery was further compounded on 70 minutes, a McKay clearance falling straight to Jack Highwood who guided into an empty net from 25 yards. Ide Hill did give themselves a sniff of a comeback; A Grant inswinging free kick was headed over the keeper from the penalty spot by Craig Jackson to reduce the deficit.

The comeback was short lived though, with James Fitchett sealing an impressive away win for Chipstead, nodding home a free kick at the back post in the final few minutes. Honourable mentions to midfielders George Kensell and Ben Holder, who stood in as centre halves and fought brilliantly throughout, the latter being voted the Ide Hill man of the match for his efforts.

So Chipstead take top spot from Ide Hill, and notionally, with games in hand factored, tighten everything up and perhaps turns the league into a five horse title race heading into the New Year. Ide Hill know that if they win their games in hand they will retake their place at the top, but will have to be much stronger than they were in the second half on Saturday.