Chelmsford Ladies 1 Southgate 0

England Hockey Ladies League

Conference East

Chelmsford Ladies 1 Southgate 0

CHELMSFORD enjoyed their first win since the Christmas break, with a battling if not vintage performance at Chelmer Park on Saturday. Recent performances had seen some excellent hockey not always rewarded with the right result, with goal scoring becoming a major problem for the Essex side and some important decisions going against them. On Saturday however, Chelmsford scored from one of the few chances they carved out and this time benefited from a controversial decision.

They were however, worthy winners in a game of few chances at either end but they dominated possession enough to warrant coming away with all three points. Chelmsford made a bright start against a side struggling at the wrong end of the table but it was Southgate who broke to create the first real clear cut opportunity after 10 minutes.

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A real scramble in front of the Chelmsford goal led to some desperate defending but the home side survived and they were able to comfortably clear the resulting penalty corner. Chelmsford earned their first set piece chance five minutes later but Kate Maxey saw her shot fizz just wide of the upright. Shortly after this some excellent approach play between Becky Budd and Kat Letts led to another penalty corner for the home side but again they were unable to take full advantage.

The breakthrough finally came on 26 minutes when Letts and Becky Alltree worked together to win another penalty corner. This time Maxey made no mistake to put her side one up. Chelmsford continued to enjoy the majority of possession up until the half time break but they were unable to create any further chances.

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The second half started rather uneventfully. It was not until the sixth minute that the first real excitement occurred. A good break by Chelmsford saw Alltree, Libby Knifton and Budd combine effectively with the latter shooting just wide. Although Southgate did not enjoy spells of any real possession they always looked threatening on the counter attack.

Twelve minutes after the break the visitors caused Chelmsford a real scare. A fast break found the Southgate centre forward with only Lyndsey Warren in the Chelmsford goal to beat. She rounded the 'keeper only to see her goal bound shot blocked by the quickly retreating Jess Ecott. The umpire considered her decision before awarding the visitors a penalty corner. Southgate were incensed and Chelmsford relieved that she had not pointed to the penalty spot. The penalty corner was blocked and easily cleared by the influential Maxey.

The home side then went on to enjoy a period of good pressure. Positive play by Sarah Bolton won another penalty corner. Maxey's shot was saved and Letts saw her rebound effort go just wide. Southgate came back and forced a penalty corner of their own. Their shot deflected off captain Marie Arber but fellow defender Hayley Heggie made a brilliant goal line save to keep Chelmsford lead intact.

Chelmsford put themselves under a bit of pressure in the closing minutes with some hurried and poor clearances but they saw out time without conceding to deservedly claim the victory. After the game, Chelmsford captain Kirkham was delighted to have secured the points saying “we've played better and lost this season, today it was great to win even if we were not at our best”.

The result keeps Chelmsford fourth in the table. They travel to East rivals Harleston Magpies next Sunday when they will expect a tough game but will be hoping for another positive result.

Scorer - Kate Maxey

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