Chelmsford 4 St Albans 3

Men’s East Hockey League

Premier A

Chelmsford edged a seven-goal thriller to record an impressive victory and extend their unbeaten run to four games. With a third of the season played, the result pulls Chelmsford level with St Albans and within striking distance of the leaders.

The game started on an even keel and St Albans were the first to get on the score sheet when Chelmsford gave away possession too easily at the back. A first time cross into the D appeared to be harmless but a deflection took it into the path of an unmarked forward who slapped the ball past a wrong footed Jason Evans in the Chelmsford goal.

Chelmsford though did not take long to pull themselves level when a slick one two between Adam Hunter and Liam Radley saw the latter released into the D and although the keeper got a hand on his shot, it managed to trickle into the goal.

St Albans didn’t wait long to retake the lead when they found themselves with another unmarked striker in the D, and this time the ball was cleverly chipped over the advancing Evans into the back of the net.

Once again Chelmsford bounced straight back when a hopeful ball from midfield was pumped into the St Albans D which appeared to be rolling harmlessly to safety. However, the keeper made a hash of an unnecessary clearance and with the ball caught up under his feet George Mann was on hand to bundle it over the line.

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With just moments to go before half time, Chelmsford seized the initiative and went ahead after James Fanger dispossessed the visitors’ left back and picked out Mann in front of goal who lashed home from 12 yards.

In the second half Chelmsford found themselves under intense pressure, and it was inevitable when St Albans found an equaliser with 15 minutes to go from a short corner.

With the game on a knife edge, both sides looked capable of scoring, but it was Chelmsford who made the decisive breakthrough as Harry Rayner continued his rich vein of scoring form with a short corner which nestled in the bottom corner of the goal.

St Albans continued to knock on Chelmsford’s door but heroic defending from the home side meant that their slender lead was kept intact. Chelmsford in fact could have extended their advantage in the dying moments but Mann missed the chance to complete his hat-trick when he miss-trapped a cross with an open goal at his mercy.

Next week Chelmsford travel to Ipswich who sit just one place and one point below Chelmsford in the table.

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