Chesham circle wagons for the visit of the leaders

Bucks Free Press: Andy Leese Andy Leese

CHESHAM United face a crucial top of the table clash with Hemel Hempstead tomorrow after losing ground at the top of the Southern Premier League during the Christmas period.

They drew 2-2 with St Albans on Boxing Day and then shared the spoils from a frantic 3-3 draw with Arlesey on Saturday.

They led 2-1 until Arlesey equalised after 88 minutes, and although Steve Wales then restored their lead in injury time Arelsey raced up the other end to score an even later equaliser.

The two draws have left Andy Leese's team eight points adrift of Hemel and three behind second-placed Cambridge City.

Leese said: "It is fair to say we ended the calendar year in slightly disappointing style with the last minute drama against Arlesey.

"It was doubly disappointing as we had control of the game at half time and again at 90 minutes.

"It would be easy to point fingers, but we have to stick together as we did when we had a great run to go top of the league in November.

"Our league record for the calendar year is played 48 games, won 32, drawn nine and lost seven.

"We will have blips in form, we won't win every game, but the consistency we have shown in the league is something most clubs would like."

However, Hemel pose another huge challenge.

Leese said: "We have to improve as the form team and league leaders are in town. They are there on merit and they are scoring enough goals to threaten any league record.

"They won't fear us given the form they are in. We have to make sure we recover, prepare properly and execute the game plan individually and collectively for the whole of the game.

"We know the importance of a local derby, and having slipped off the pace we know we need to get something from the game.

"It won't determine the outcome of the league title as there is half a season of games to play, but it will say plenty about our character and where we are as a team."

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