Chelmsford 4 Blueharts 0
NE14hockey East Men’s League
ALL Chelmsford’s work over the pre-season paid off in the first game of the season after a convincing victory over Blueharts which kickstarts their target of winning the league and getting back into the National League.
Chelmsford were fielding a much changed squad from the one that was relegated from the English Hockey League at the end of last season. During the summer, the Mepham brothers and Elliott Seleska made the short trip to local rivals Old Loughts, and Adrian Palmer moved onto Hampstead and Westminster. In addition, Ian Belchamber is taking an extended rest from the sport.
However, Chelmsford were able to call upon a number of new signings. Tom Fanger and Dale Becker have arrived to bolster the defence, while Geoff Mills has re-signed from Adelaide based side Forestville. More encouragingly, Andy Fox, George Mann, Rob Hartley and Harry Rayner all made the step up from the 2nd XI with apparent ease.
As is often the case with opening matches, first day nerves meant that neither side could settle into an early rhythm as possession was repeatedly turned over cheaply. The hosts were the first to overcome
this as Mills seized upon a loose ball in the Blueharts D. His early cross was met at the far post by Owen Thom to score his first league goal some 11 years after making his debut. Blueharts also created a couple of chances on the counter attack however GK Jason Evans and the defence kept the goal door firmly shut under lock and key.
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Following the goal, Chelmsford took control of the match and never looked like losing it. They constantly threatened the Blueharts goal while the visitors struggled to gain any meaningful possession in the Chelmsford half. The only surprise was that Chelmsford had to wait until the 26th minute to double the lead, with a goal that was almost identical to the first. Will Hales was able to pick out Mann at the far
post who had the simple task of tapping in to an empty net.
The second half started off at a high pace with Chelmsford pressing hard from the off. This pressure from the front three caused a Blueharts defender to misplace a pass straight to George Mann at the top of the circle who rocketed the ball into the goal to notch his goal tally up to two.
The fourth and final goal was scored midway through the second half after good linking play down the left from Will Hales and Simon Pidgeon who released skipper Adam Hunter to place the ball firmly in the top corner with the goalkeeper helpless.
Chelmsford also welcome back Australian Geoff Mills this season. He was influential throughout creating opportunities and unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself.
Chelmsford are away to Bishops Stortford this Saturday and also host West Herts in the England Hockey Cup second round on Sunday 2pm start at Chelmer Park.