An Adam Carter goal with the last touch of the game secured a crucial three points for Chelmsford in their battle against the drop. Carter’s goal capped a dramatic finale in which Chelmsford trailed with just four minutes remaining, but with both teams charging forward and chances created at both ends, Chelmsford held their nerve to see off their relegation rivals.
The opening exchanges gave little indication of the drama to follow. Cambridge City pressed hard from the start, but Chelmsford soon settled and after a period camped in the home team’s half took the lead when a Luke Mepham penalty corner was rifled into the roof of the net.
Although Chelmsford offered their opponents few chances, City took full advantage when the opportunities came their way. Forced to face a penalty corner with only three defenders when Andy Fox broke the line early, Chelmsford could only watch on as City forced home the rebound despite doubt surrounding the legality of the initial strike at goal. Chelmsford’s woes continued when a cross from the right was only partially blocked, and City reacted quickest to slot the ball into the bottom corner.
Knowing that only a win would suffice, Chelmsford continued to probe in the second half, but were left continually frustrating when a lack of quality in the final pass saw them create few chances. This all changed in the closing stages, although it was City that almost put the game to bed with five minutes to go. With Chelmsford committing players forward, City launched a counter attack and a one on one with keeper James McCann saw City roll the ball agonisingly onto the post.
This was the catalyst for fortunes to swing dramatically in Chelmsford’s favour. Almost immediately, Chelmsford forced their first short corner of the half. Although Adam Hunter’s first effort was blocked by the keeper, the captain reacted quickest to shovel the rebound past the keeper’s right leg.
With momentum in their favour, Chelmsford were now looking desperately for a winner. However, with two minutes on the clock, City forced a penalty corner, and with Elliott Seleska sin binned for a foul in the build-up, the odds looked stacked against Chelmsford. City committed themselves to finding the winner, but when man of the match McCann snuffed out the set piece threat, Chelmsford broke again. Ollie Lane picked up a loose ball in midfield and split the defence with a 40-yard pass to Mepham who found himself with just the keeper to beat. It looked like the chance may have been wasted when Mepham was forced wide and had his first shot blocked by the keeper, but he was first to the rebound and laid the ball back to Carter, whose sweet strike gave no chance to the two retreating defenders on the line.
Despite the victory, Chelmsford still sit bottom of the table, but are now just two points away from safety with games in hand on their rivals. Next week, Chelmsford host Bedford on Saturday at 2pm and St Albans on Sunday at 12.30pm.
Scorers: Luke Mepham, Adam Hunter, Adam Carter