Result: Won 2-0
Scorers: J Maleary x2
The second XI were coming off the back of a big win against fellow promotion hopefuls Colchester, and so expectations were high going into an early season top-of-the-table clash with Redbridge & Ilford.
Youngster Tom Gore was given the captaincy for the day and after a riling speech reminiscent to that by Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday, they were off. It was an edgy start from Chelmsford who invited pressure early on with some questionable passing, however they grew into the game and halfway through the first half were dominating possession. Chances were few and far between, the biggest of which began with a lovely passage of transfers across the pitch, bound to impress on looking first team coach Shuhel Malique who was in the dugout. The liquid hockey that followed culminated in Rob Plummer, with only the keeper to beat, unselfishly laying the ball across for Captain Fantastic T Gore to slot into an open net. If only. Gore Junior stroked the ball onto the post and the search for the opening goal went on. As is now expected in a Twos fixture, Tim Fox provided his adoring fans with a “laser”, unfortunately unlike last weeks’ goal, this time the ball headed off the side of the pitch and into the opposition dugout. As the half came to a close some more slick passing across the pitch led to increasing pressure inside the Redbridge 25 and Chelmsford made it count, winning two short corners in quick succession. Both were flicked fractionally wide of the right post by last week’s man of the match, Harry Carpenter, leading to a flurry of choice words from the northerner. That would bring a to end a largely disappointing half of hockey for Chelmsford, who certainly deserved something for their efforts.
James McCann, largely untroubled in the Chelmsford goal throughout the match, provided the team with some words of wisdom at half time – “Be patient, play the system worked on in training and the goals will come”. This seemed to knock the boys into action and almost immediately after the restart Chelmsford were 1-0 to the good. A brilliant display of stick skills along the baseline by Alex Stone earned a short corner which was coolly dispatched under the keepers’ stick into the bottom corner by Josh ‘I know best’ Maleary. The more pressure Chelmsford applied, the more frustrated Redbridge became and the umpires were forced into showing numerous greens for some overly physical play. With the opposition down to ten men, Chelmsford looked to capitalise but after a poor turnover in possession ended in Foxy picking up the ball, he was presented with a well-deserved green, but not before taking one of the boys in red with him after a little tussle. Ten against nine, and Redbridge could count themselves lucky it wasn’t worse when some unseen off-the-ball action went unpunished after Gore Junior was kneecapped by a very guilty looking defender. This didn’t deter the Green Machine, however, and the boys used this added physicality in their game and bounced back stronger, forcing Redbridge to play out the majority of the half camped deep within their own territory. Much like the first half Chelmsford controlled the game, keeping the ball for long periods but without finding the crucial pass that lead to a second goal. And without the cushion of a second goal Chelmsford were always vulnerable. Redbridge rarely threatened the Chelmsford “D” despite some excellent skills that were on show, however a late push from the opposition in search of an equaliser led to a nervy final few minutes. The game was put to bed though, by a brilliant breakaway involving Stone, Simon Bird, Harry and Josh ‘don’t tell me what to do’ Maleary. With the goal at his mercy, Harry’s reverse stick shot was stopped on the line when a Redbridge defender thought he’d have a sit down. No amount of arguing was going to convince anyone it wasn’t a yellow, including the umpires who sent the player on his way. Up stepped Josh ‘don’t tell me to calm down’ Maleary who sent the keeper the wrong way, making it 2-0 to the boys in green. A calmer finish to the game meant the twos could see out the remaining few minutes with relative ease, maintaining their 100% record for the season. Strong performances all round, with Gore Senior in particular impressing at right back and a rare game for under-the-thumb Rich De Boltz making his first appearance of the year – we won’t see you until November now i expect?
A well-fought result for the boys who now sit pretty three points clear at the top of the table. Next week the twos travel to Waltham Forrest where we hope they will build on an impressive team performance and extend their lead at the top.
MOM – Simon Bird
DOD – Tim Fox