Result: Lost 2-1
Scorer: A Barrett
A remarkable performance from the entire Chelmsford squad was worthy of a creditable draw but the visitors snatched all three points in the final phase of the match.
Second placed in the league, Wimbledon’s team includes a number of England and GB internationals and they came to Chelmer Park determined to secure a vital win to keep them in the running for the Championship. An immediate high-paced attacking structure had Chelmsford defending in numbers until after 10 minutes of play, Chelmsford created advances into the Wimbledon half.
Excellent work by defenders Marie Kirkham, Annie Steingold and Julia Butterworth built the midfield play. Wimbledon were relentless in the attack, using long range passing to excellent effect. Chelmsford’s disciplined structure and concentration disrupted Wimbledon’s efforts and the home side were able to mount attacks of their own. As the half time break approached, Wimbledon secured a couple of short corners, but good goalkeeping by Chelmsford’s Chelsey Claridge kept a clean sheet.
No less intense than the first period, Wimbledon pressed hard to open their account but it was Chelmsford who delighted the home supporters with a well worked goal from Abby Barrett. The ball was played through the centre of midfield to Barrett who accelerated into the D to strike a fine shot past the Wimbledon keeper.
The pressure from the visitors was resumed and more short corners awarded but again great defending kept them out. Some astounding goalkeeping from Claridge, including a kick away and diving double save gave inspiration to the whole Chelmsford team. But as the half progressed, Wimbledon put together a cutting series of passes and an open play goal set the score to 1-1.
Chelmsford battled hard to keep the match open and flowing. In the final seconds Wimbledon won a short corner and with the very last strike of the ball stole the points. Chelmsford walked away with heads high and can address the double-header weekend coming up with absolute confidence in their abilities.
Chelmsford’s next match is at home against Barnes on Saturday 17 March with pushback at 2.00pm and then away at St Albans on Sunday 18 March with pushback at 3.30pm.