Result: Loss 4-3
Scorers: G Kirkham, T Fanger, D Millane
Chelmsford made the out-of-sync early, and long journey to Spalding. A newly promoted team who insisted on, for the first time this season, playing all their home games late morning.
In spite of the journey to what appeared to be the middle of nowhere, the entire team arrived almost on time. With changing facilities more akin to the containers found in naval ports around the world, preparation was perhaps considered different to normal.
However, the hosts only had 2 points from their previous 15 encounters, and included a significant number of heavy defeats, so confidence was high amongst the travelling greens. This was emphasised when with less than 60 seconds on the clock, they forced the first of what turned out to be numerous penalty corners. It went unconverted, but it set an early precedent for the pressure the visitors would be exerting.
In spite of what felt like a long period of dominance, the score was opened by Spalding. Capitalising on an error getting the ball out the back, they were left with numbers in the D, the ball, and not many yards to the goal. Chelmsford replied by finally converting through one of their copious penalty corners, Glenn Kirkham getting on the end of a deflection to level the scores.
Chelmsford were certainly the team with more chances, but half time arrived with the scores level at 1-1.
The second half started in much the same vain, but two quick breakaway goals from Spalding left the score at 3-1. With about 15 minutes left on the clock, the hosts resorted to some outrageously early time wasting, and they resorted to an aerial bombardment lead by their curly haired centre back. Chelmsford replied through a Tom Fanger flick to bring the score to 3-2.
Spalding, with their first win of the season within their grasp, continued to be lackadaisical when taking free hits, and increasingly desperate when not in possession. A flurry of cards arrived, without having a dramatic impact on some of the ensuing antics.
With just 3 minutes left on the clock, Chelmsford levelled for the second time. A scrappy penalty corner was converted by Dec Millane, and grabbing the ball to take back to the half way line, it was clear the visitors were intent on a winner.
However, Spalding got their fourth with a mirror of first goal. Some lax marking from a long corner left numbers again free in the D, with not many yards separating the ball from the goal. Jubilant scenes ensued, as they boosted their points tally to 5 and remained bottom of the table. With uncertainty about how many teams will be going down at the end of the season, Chelmsford sit in 8th place but nervously looking over their shoulder.
Assuming Chelmsford find their way out of the aforementioned middle of nowhere, they return to league action on Sunday 18th February, hosting title chasing St. Albans.