Chelmsford 0 Harleston Mag 2
England Hockey League
Women's Conference East
Chelmsford 0 Harleston Magpies 2
THIS was a game that Chelmsford contrived to lose, rather than a decisive win for Harleston. No disrespect to the visitors who have now taken Chelmsford's second spot in the league, but with Chelmsford's sometimes erratic passing and fragmented play, Harleston took advantage of the opportunities that Chelmsford allowed them.
The first 15 minutes were evenly balanced and after a skilful long ball forward from Jess Ecott, Chelmsford won their first short corner. Kate Maxey's low shot narrowly passed outside the left post. The game now opened up with Harleston's fast interceptions and good teamwork creating problems for the home team. Solid defending by captain Marie Kirkham kept the ship on course and inspired several probing runs resulting in short corners, but without score.
The Chelmsford team seemed to flag in the late stages of the first half, with Harleston starting to dictate the pace and passing confidently. Their pressure play on Chelmsford's right flank resulted in a short corner, and Harleston's opening goal.
Chelmsford's start to the second half was more controlled and confident. An excellent interchange between Rebecca Budd and Beth Wilde resulted in another Chelmsford short corner but again without success. With a string of off-target passes and breakdowns in attack, Chelmsford became frustrated and shoulders sagged. A searching ball from Harleston left the Chelmsford defence standing and a one on one goal chance for the Magpies. A fast diving stop by keeper Lynsey Warren kept Chelmsford in the game.
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Harleston continued to press forward, gaining possession sometimes too easily and winning another short corner which was converted to take their lead to 2-0. Chelmsford's character came through late in the game as they fought hard to redress the balance. An excellent effort on goal from an acute angle by Rebecca Budd was toed away by the Magpies' keeper. Chelmsford pressed forward but even with two late short corners they could not get the vital goals.
Chelmsford remain very much in the running in third place in the league as only two points separate the top four teams. Their next match is away to Cambridge City on Saturday, November 14 starting at 2pm.