Some 5 weeks later than scheduled, CSKA finally got their campaign started in a battling display at Judgemeadow Stadium in Evington. A depleted CSKA side had lost here just before lockdown, so there was a real hunger to get a result this time out.
Manager Jon Brice made just one enforced change to line-up that defeated Knighton Park in the last friendly match of pre-season with Adam King returning to the side for the first time since April 2019. Hiran Mistry made his CSKA competitive debut also starting at right midfield after a strong pre-season.
CSKA opened the scoring when Dave Payne outpaced the CFA full-back to deliver a deep cross to Danny Chapman who nodded home superbly. A controversial penalty moments later however as Jon Brice was adjudged to have handled inside the box despite keeping his arms tucked in. Nonetheless, the resulting penalty was tucked away to make it 1-1. The game opened up a bit following this, but a moment of magic from captain Nathan Tate just before half time, a powerful 30 yard strike leaving the goalkeeper helpless.
Tate made it 3-1 early in the second half, this time pouncing on the rebound of a half cleared corner. But CFA again found themselves with a spot kick soon after, Adam King bundling over the player in the box left the referee with no choice. However the CSKA protests of a player shouting “Leave it!” fell on deaf ears. Augustus was booked in the protest and was unable to stop the penalty, making it 2-3.
The game then began to boil over a bit, a few strong challenges we required to stamp authority back in the game, and it paid off as Adam Gent’s corner found the head of Brice to make it 4-2 to the visitors.
The game ended with multiple fouls, bookings and dissent towards the referee, but all in all a good battle between two good sides who should do well in the division.