Chelmsford II 1 Sudbury 1

NE14Hockey East Women's LeaguePremier DivisionChelmsford Ladies II 1 Sudbury 1AFTER a strong performance last week Chelmsford hoped to maintain their form and take a strong lead into the Christmas break at home against Sudbury.

NE14Hockey East Women's League

Premier Division

Chelmsford Ladies II 1 Sudbury 1

AFTER a strong performance last week Chelmsford hoped to maintain their form and take a strong lead into the Christmas break at home against Sudbury. From previous experiences Chelmsford knew it would be a tough and physical game and that they would need to battle from start to finish.

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Chelmsford started strongly closing down the Sudbury players and had a period of pressure camped in their attacking 25, sadly despite some short corners Chelmsford were unable to find the back of the net and Sudbury gradually settled themselves into the games. Sudbury looked dangerous on the counter attack but the defence held firm and thwarted their efforts for the initial period. However shortly thereafter Sudbury were able to convert from a short corner to take the lead against the run of play. Spurred on by the physical battering they were receiving Chelmsford once again upped the pressure and searched for the equaliser. Chelmsford were extremely unfortunate not to be awarded a flick when the Sudbury goalkeeper smothered the ball and should have received an award for her acting skills in denying this was deliberate! However she did prove to be a thorn in Chelmsford's sides with several goal line saves and faint touches to put the ball wide.

Chelmsford lost captain Anna Smith to injury in this first half when a clashing tackle resulted in a split across the kneecap and a trip to Broomfield, fortunately only three stitches were needed and all being well she will be back in action come the New Year. Down to the bare 11 Chelmsford battled hard, but good work-rate across the pitch was not rewarded with the elusive goal.

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The half-time team-talk by stand-in captain Karen Cooper encouraged the team to stay focussed, try not to get riled by the professional fouls of the Sudbury team and to keep attacking in the same vein which Chelmsford did in the second half. Good overlaps from Cooper down the right and great interlinking play with Player of the Match Ruth Astle kept Sudbury on their toes and running them ragged all over the pitch Sudbury looked to be tiring. On one of Chelmsford's many forays Astle got Chelmsford back in the game with a fine shot from a rebounded ball at a very acute angle - now the search was on for the winner!

Chelmsford certainly did pressure the Sudbury goal and once again were narrowly denied on many occasions with Ally Farrar hammering away at the Sudbury defence, which somehow managed to hold fast. Chelmsford were awarded a flick with minutes to go but this went wide. Chelmsford continued to battle the Sudbury goal but time ran out before they could find the winner and they had to settle for just the one point. Sudbury's elation at securing the point showed they did not feel they deserved it, but Chelmsford will have to be more clinical in converting their chances to avoid frustrations such as this.

The result leaves Chelmsford in a respectable fifth place as they now break from the league season for Christmas; they are back in action on January 10 at home against West Herts.

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