SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL DIVISION
North Greenford 0 Chalfont St Peter 2
DAVE Beasant came out of retirement in response to a North Greenford SOS - but it was not enough to save them from defeat to Chalfont St Peter in Saturday’s league curtain-raiser.
The former England and AFC Wimbledon keeper, whose penalty save from John Aldridge at Wembley in 1988 is the stuff of FA Cup folklore turned out to fill the void left by regular custodian Lee Pearce’s suspension.
However, his first competitive game for more than 10 years ended in defeat as goals from Daryl Atkins and John Carroll saw the saints take the points.
Beasant’s goal was breeched after just eight minutes when Ashed Valchev’s cross from the left was superbly headed inside the near post by Scott Fitzgerald.
However, an assistant’s flag meant the 54-year-old’s dreams of a clean sheet stayed intact for a little while longer.
At the other end, Anthony O’Connor came close for the hosts with an effort from the left edge of the box turned aside by visiting keeper Michael Power-Simpson.
The United striker was close again just before the half hour when he got ahead of his marker at the near post but could not get his effort on target.
The rest of the half was all about Atkins, who first made a mess of a headed chance and then latched onto a long ball to hook an effort beyond Beasant but also the wrong side of the post.
Four minutes before the break the former winger turned striker played provider, chasing a lost cause into the corner and setting up a chance for Daniel Hughes which was goal-bound until Daryl Brown headed clear from near the line.
It proved a momentary reprieve as barely 60 seconds later a Michael Lewis through-ball found Atkins on the right edge of the box and the youngster fired a low drive across Beasant and in off the far post.
Lewis might have doubled the lead before the break when set free by Power-Simpson’s long punt but he shot wide, while the midfield man’s next effort was well held by United’s celebrity No 1.
The impressive Louis Stead volleyed over for United, but Saints were in control now and doubled their lead on 68 minutes.
Fitzgerald was the architect with a pinpoint free-kick into the box which Carroll met with a volley that gave Beasant no chance.
O’Connor could have set up a grandstand finish had he headed home Charlie Defty’s cross from the right with 14 minutes left, but he could not climb high enough and headed over as Danny Edwards’ men held on with a bit to spare.