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Chesham United clinch promotion with 4-0 win
CHESHAM United boss Andy Leese said his side's stunning 4-0 win to clinch promotion was the 'pinnacle' of his managerial career.
Leese was “ecstatic” at the final whistle and ran on the pitch to celebrate with his players, who had just demolished Slough Town in the Southern League Midlands Division play-off final.
He said: “It was the tempo at the start that was so good. I knew [Slough] are a little bit flat-footed and don't tend to start games that well.
“I've had promotions before but I've never done it like this. I'm just ecstatic.”
Leese's contract at The Meadow runs out at the end of this season but when asked about his future he said: “Of course I want to stay, I assume we'll talk about it next week.”
Aside from a nervy period at the start of the second half against Slough, Leese's men produced a powerful performance and always looked in control.
The Generals got off to the perfect start, when just two minutes in the ball broke to Steve Wales on the left.
His low cross looked harmless but Slough failed to clear and the unnoticed Dom Marsala popped up at the far post to gleefully slot in his fifth goal of the season.
Slough might have hit back immediately but Adam Martin snatched at his shot after chesting down Sean Sonner's cross.
Wales was through on goal for Chesham on 17 minutes after Marsala picked up the ball in midfield and played a perfectly-timed through ball in behind the Slough defenders. Jamie Jackson pulled off a fine save to tip man-of-the-match Wales' shot over the bar.
Jackson was almost left red-faced minutes later, when Dave Fotheringham sent a weak shot goalwards. The goalkeeper seemed too casual as he stooped to pick the ball up and nearly fumbled it into the net.
Slough threatened with Mo Sharif showing some tricky dribbling skills. The youngster turned neatly in the area to meet a looping ball on 30 minutes, but keeper Richard Hayward came out and smothered.
On 34 minutes John Frendo doubled the lead for the home side. The striker latched onto a hopeful long ball and when his volley was parried high in the air by Jackson he reacted quickly to follow it up and nod the ball into an open net.
Slough picked up the pace in the second half as a tense crowd willed on Chesham to give themselves more than a two-goal cushion.
Sonner might have scored for the visitors had he not snatched at a shot as he waited for the ball to come down in the area.
Then Steve Sinclair found space on the right and his clever pass inside found Sonner. The front man's drilled shot stung the hands of Hayward at the near post.
Adam Martin enjoyed a dominant spell in midfield for Slough but his slick move with Sonner ended with Sharif heading tamely over the bar.
On 65 minutes the Chesham crowd roared with relief as Fotheringham made it 3-0. Wales had powered down the left hand side and reached the byline, before his pull back fell to Fotheringham to side foot home and spark jubilant celebrations.
Substitute Kevin Cotton put the icing on the cake with a neat finish to make it four on 76 minutes.
Chesham United: Richard Hayward, John Kyriacou, Sam Ledger, Nick Leach, Danny Talbot, Mark Lambert, Dave Fotheringham, Steve Wales, John Frendo (Danny Burnell 77), Dom Marsala (Kevin Cotton 57), Steve Obeng (Danny Gudgeon 84).