Chelmsford 1 West Herts 5

East Men’s League

Premier A

Chelmsford’s league campaign got off to the worst possible start with a comprehensive defeat away to West Herts on Saturday.

Chelmsford had enjoyed an encouraging pre-season under their new coach, Trinidad & Tobago international Dillet Gilkes. As a result hopes were high heading into the game, but these were quickly dashed when an energetic start to the game from the hosts was rewarding in the opening moments by an emphatic reverse stick deflection into the roof of the net from a right wing cross. Buoyed by this, West Herts exerted their superiority and only 10 minutes were on the clock when they doubled their lead after poor marking from the Chelmsford defence left an unmarked striker with a tap-in at the far post.

This finally seemed to kick start Chelmsford to life, and they nearly halved the deficit when Adam Hunter’s pass across the face of goal picked out Harry Rayner, but his first time effort rolled narrowly past the far post.

However, Chelmsford did not have to wait long for their first goal, when moments later Tom Fanger’s short corner flicked off a defender’s stick and into the bottom corner. The rest of the half became a scrappy affair with neither side exerting their dominance, but just before half time West Herts restored their two goal lead when poor marking again allowed their winger another easy finish.

If anything, Chelmsford’s second half performance was worse than the first, with possession cheaply turned over time and again. Two quick fire goals from West Herts, one a looping reverse stick finish into the far corner and the other a neat finish over the advancing Jason Evans in the Chelmsford goal, effectively killed off the game. Chelmsford should have netted a consolation goal in the closing moments after Hunter intercepted a pass across the defence, but his hurried shot bobbled harmlessly wide of the goal.

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The only positive to arise from the game was the introduction in the second half of 16 year defender Alex Mayes, who made a composed debut on an otherwise disappointing day for Chelmsford.

Next week Chelmsford hope to return to winning ways when they host newly promoted Dereham at Chelmer Park at 2pm on Saturday. Chelmsford will then be hoping to emulate their run to the quarter-finals in last season’s EH Cup when they open their campaign on Sunday against Cambridge City at home at noon.

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