Camberley Town and Molesey’s Combined Counties League challenge may now be falling away after more dropped points but Chertsey Town strode on for another win to maintain maximum pressure on favourites, Guildford City.

Town’s gait, however, may have had more than a hint of a cramp about it as they struggled to overcome a Croydon side that belied their lowly position in the table.

Chertsey may have enjoyed much of the possession but it was the home side that frequently looked dangerous on the break in the first half with Town’s cohesion in defence looking frail at times.

By the interval, Chertsey had fallen behind and their lack of penetrative power suggested that it might be too much of an uphill battle to overhaul even just the one goal deficit.

Although it was an unchanged line up from the side that gave such a sparkling display of just four days previous, so fickle football can be, the stuttering performance looked as if wholesale changes had been made.

One thing that was the same, however, was Town’s self belief which is probably the key attribute that won the day.

Even a missed penalty opportunity unfazed them; a good omen, as the last phase of the championship run in gains greater momentum.

On one of the best presented surfaces seen for some months, and on a windless sunny afternoon, Chertsey should have revelled in the conditions.

They had plenty of possession but looked vulnerable at the back and were grateful not to go behind early on when a break through the middle produced a lob at goal that only just cleared Craig Bradshaw’s cross bar.

That comfort was short lived as Croydon took a 14th minute lead with Martin Smith, a thorn in Chertsey’s side all afternoon, converting a left wing cross by clipping the ball home, low from eight yards.

Smith made every effort to make it two for his side soon after but Bradshaw, in tipping the strike over the bar, was equal to the rasping shot.

Chertsey tried to make their forward movement count through the first half and won plenty of corner kicks but failed to gain any plaudits.

Their first recognisable strike at goal took 42 minutes in the coming when Phil Page tried to steer the ball home from 15 yards.

The ball went comfortably wide but perhaps looked a better attempt than it was with goal keeper Francis Ameyaw covering the shot in a flamboyant style that became more evident as the game progressed.

Chertsey commenced the second period by buzzing around the Croydon penalty area, just as in the first half and, just like in the first half, they were unable to make the menace count.

A series of half chance shots were produced, the best coming from Page when his poke ripped along the side netting but still no goal.

These efforts from Town thus counted for nothing, but at least their football was more direct and promised a better return.

A Page free kick from 25 yards was well held by Ameyaw as the pressure built up and the ball being briefly handled by a Croydon defender in his penalty area set up a 12 yard kick for the Curfews.

It was from the very same spot twelve months previously that a similar situation was spurned after Dean Papali fired his kick wide.

The same player bravely put himself forward to lay that ghost. His shot was on target this time but not good enough to beat the goalkeeper.

The missed chance could have deflated the Chertsey players but did not. Instead, it heralded a prolific 15 minute period for the visitors that garnered three match winning goals.

The first was created on 67 minutes with Page the provider. He had just previously tried to round the keeper but the attempt only won a corner.

But from it, as delivered by Tom O’Regan, Papali got his head to the cross and the ball went forward to Page who also headed further on to record the hard won equaliser.

The fortunes of the game were completely turned round two minutes later with a high ball looped in from the opposite flank.

Defender Simon Cox had surged forward and got his head to the ball in what looked suspiciously like an intention to create an opening for a colleague, But the back header arced over everyone and landed in the far side of the net as a bonus.

Town’s third came on 82 minutes from another O’Regan cross. It came off a free kick some 30 yards out but near the right touch line. Three players went for the ball. Ameyaw tried to punch it out but caught his own left back Michael Johnson instead.

In the same instant, Lee Weemes, who had come off the bench, made contact in the same huddle and headed the ball over the Croydon line.

The collision stopped the game for almost twenty minutes as a serious neck injury to Johnson was suspected and could not be moved until an ambulance arrived.

Although a fourth Chertsey goal was momentarily thought to have been notched at close range after the restart, but ruled out by a marginal offside decision, it was the host side that took up the cudgel.

Their initiative produced plenty of action in the Chertsey penalty area in the final phase and created a last minute goal.

The ball came from the right where, on the far side and 15 yards out Jamie White hit the ball into the ground for it to bounce up into the top corner of the goal to make the score line more representative of a game that first was hard work for Chertsey, but then looked like they were going to run away with the exchange.