Chelmsford 5 Old Loughtonians 0

England Women’s Hockey

Conference League

CHELMSFORD’S excellent start to the season continued in this hard fought local derby, where skillful hockey outshone the physical approach to the game. Old Loughtonians indicated from the opening minutes that they were not in awe of Chelmsford’s recent record and whilst Chelmsford had most of the early possession, Old Loughtonians created some dangerous breaks to threaten the Chelmsford defence.

The Chelmsford front line of Beth Wild, Loren Sherer and Libby Knifton terrorised the Old Loughtonians’ defence and were ably supported by an attacking midfield with Becky Budd, Kat Hales and Louisa Taylor always ready to press into goal scoring opportunities.

Half way through the first half, Chelmsford’s domination of possession led to a long corner that was rapidly taken. Julia Butterworth, also moving up from midfield, played a sweetly struck first time ball into the D for Loren Sherer to sweep home for Chelmsford’s opening goal. Old Loughtonians responded immediately with an energetic rally that brought a couple of short corners. Resilient defending kept the home team’s one goal advantage at half time.

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After the break, Chelmsford initially allowed Old Loughtonians space to build some coherent play through the midfield but Jess Ecott, Hayley Heggie and the Chelmsford captain, Marie Kirkham kept a firm grip on defence. When Old Loughtonians did manage to get a shot on goal, Chelmsford keeper Lynsey Warren dealt with the matter effortlessly. Kirkham was inspiring, keeping the play at a high speed, never letting the opposition settle and always open to attacking opportunities.

Ten minutes into the second half, Chelmsford had the upper hand and Old Loughtonians’ frustrations were manifested in some hard tackles. On two occasions they had players sin binned, whilst Chelmsford concentrated on keeping their hockey together. On one of her trademark runs to the base line, Libby Knifton got behind the Old Loughtonians’ defence to win a short corner. Kat Hales smashed in the short corner for a more comfortable 2-0 lead.

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Minutes later another long corner played into the D was seized upon by Louisa Taylor and struck home. With Old Loughtonians unable to offer any counter to Chelmsford’s speed and organisation, Becky Budd charged into the D and pushed the ball forward for Knifton to register a goal of her own. The next attack saw Chelmsford’s midfield in close support of the front runners and as the ball came to Julia Butterworth at the top of the D her full-blooded strike took the home team’s final tally to five.

Chelmsford’s next match is away to Surbiton on Sunday, October 3. Pushback is at 1pm.

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