Cambridge City 5 Chelmsford 2

NE14hockey East Men’s League

Premier A

CHELMSFORD’S poor early season form continued as they slumped to a 5-2 away defeat to Cambridge City on Saturday. The loss leaves them sitting precariously two points above the relegation with a quarter of the season already completed.

Chelmsford started the game the brighter of the two sides, and deservedly took the lead just 10 minutes in. A slick short corner routine resulted in Marc Pike’s cross being deflected in at the bottom corner by Adam Hunter for his fifth goal of the campaign.

To their credit, City came back strongly and several lapses in concentration in the Chelmsford defence allowed the hosts to take control of the game. A series of poor tackles and slack marking combined to present City a host of opportunities from open play and set pieces, and clinical finishing meant that they turned the deficit into a 3-1 lead within 15 minutes of falling behind.

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Despite this set back, Chelmsford still appeared to be more comfortable in possession and continued to create space in midfield and a number of chances followed. The visitors did not have to wait long to claw their way back into the game when a precise Will Hales cross picked out George Mann who showed great composure to lift he ball over the sprawling keeper.

With renewed energy taken from scoring just before half time, Chelmsford were confident going into the second half. However, they were soon dealt a blow when influential defender David Hunter was forced off with a wrist injury, and this was evident as City forced a much higher press which kept Chelmsford pinned in their own half for the majority of the second period. This approach paid dividends for City as they forced a number of early corners, one of which was duly despatched to restore their two goal lead.

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Chelmsford were now chasing the game, but the organised City defence and the increasing fatigue of the Chelmsford players meant that scoring chances were at a premium. As Chelmsford threw more players forward in the closing stages, their defence became stretched and City grabbed the fifth goal their second half performance deserved with another set piece before the final whistle sounded.

Next week Chelmsford host Ipswich in a crucial encounter which could kick start Chelmsford’s league season. Ipswich currently sit one point above Chelmsford in the table, and a win is vital for both sides to avoid getting sucked into a relegation battle. The game starts at Chelmer Park at 2pm.

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