Chelmsford got the New Year off to the perfect start with a hard-fought victory over fellow relegation strugglers Dereham. For the first time this season, Chelmsford find themselves off the bottom of the table ahead of another six-pointer at Saffron Walden next week.
“An end to end affair”
The first half was an end to end affair, and it was Chelmsford that took the early initiative when Luke Mepham broke down the left, and although he sent his reverse stick shot wide of the far post, Elliott Seleska volleyed home from a yard.
Dereham struck back soon after when a disputed corner was flung into the corner, but Chelmsford restored their lead quickly when Seleska and Mepham switched roles, with the latter hammering home a first time shot after a through ball from the right.
However, as half time approached, Dereham again hit back with another corner which was placed in the same corner as the first, and the scores at the break were even.
Dereham came out in the second half with more intent than the hosts, and a similar break to the one that yielded an early goal for Chelmsford produced the same result for Dereham with an easy far post tap-in.
With Dereham playing a high press, Chelmsford had to work hard to get out of defence, but their persistence paid off. Mepham found himself in the thick of the action again when he picked out Mike Millane in the D, and he calmly rounded the keeper before placing the ball between several back-pedalling defenders.
“Discipline broke down…”
With so much at stake, discipline broke down with several green cards flashed at both sides, and Mepham found himself in the sin-bin for the final fifteen minutes for dissent. Despite that, Chelmsford continued to press and Millane again found space in the D, and won a penalty stroke when he was felled by the sliding keeper. Millane himself stepped up to take the stroke, and although the umpires made him retake the stroke after an initial successful attempt, he evaded the outstretched glove of the keeper a second time to squeeze Chelmsford into the lead.
“A much-needed victory.”
As the game approached its conclusion, Chelmsford defended deeper and deeper. Dereham forced a corner in the last minute, but the set piece was blocked and Chelmsford held out for a much-needed victory.
The game with Saffron Walden next week takes place at the Joyce Frankland Academy at 2pm.