Southgate 3 Chelmsford 1
England Hockey Men's League
Southgate 3 Chelmsford 1
CHELMSFORD travelled to North London last Sunday to play Southgate who were relegated from the England Hockey National Premier League last season, so they knew they were in for a tough fixture.
Chelmsford welcomed back David Hunter from his travels which was a boost to the defence and also had a change of formation to try and strengthen defensively whilst still maintaining the attacking threat they have shown all season which has helped them score 14 goals in seven games.
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Chelmsford started off a little bit shaky which was pounced on by the Southgate team who scored early into the first half after a quick transfer of play across the pitch which Chelmsford didn't react to and a player unmarked who pushed the ball into the corner of the goal.
Chelmsford settled more and had a couple of opportunities themselves however were unable to finish. They then conceded again when there was a scrappy moment in their 'D' and failed to clear the ball which enabled a Southgate player to pounce on the ball and slot the ball into the open goal at the back post. However they kept pushing throughout and won a couple of short corners which needed good saves from their Goalkeeper and could have so easily been the turning point had one of them gone in.
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Despite coming in at 2-0 down at half time, spirits were high as they were playing good hockey and creating opportunities, it was just the final end product that needed converting. Coach Royce Waters altered the attacking press to stop Southgate from distributing the ball as easily through the middle which had instant results at the start of the second half.
Chelmsford began to dominate possession and create chances including a reverse strike from Ed Stanhope and other efforts from Luke Mepham and Chris Rich which were well saved by the Southgate goalkeeper. Chelmsford began to play with confidence and belief with great linking up play and flair however they just could not score.
Against the run of play they then conceded to make it 3-0 through a quickly taken free hit which was dispatched from the top of the 'D'. At this stage all of Chelmsford's hard work and effort had merited no reward. In previous matches this would have been the time when Chelmsford fell apart and conceded further losing structure and shape, however this was not the case. The team stuck with it and had another spell of dominance which resulted in a number of short corners in short succession. On the third short corner, Adrian Palmer stepped up and rifled the ball into the top corner with the South African International Goalkeeper having no answer to the emphatic finish.
Chelmsford continued to push for the last 10 minutes with good runs from Chris Rich and Luke Mepham piercing the defence, however a yellow card for Elliott Seleska made it that bit harder as Southgate were able to maintain possession and secure the result.
Chelmsford have every right to be disappointed about the result, yet optimistic about their performance as they showed passion, determination and flair against a very well drilled Southgate team. With their new approach and belief in themselves, this can only lead to a win in the near future.
This Sunday Chelmsford welcome Holcombe to Chelmer Park at 2pm where they will again be hoping to get the three points they are so desperate for.