Chelmsford stretched their unbeaten run to four games with a hard-fought draw at relegation rivals Dereham. Despite the result being tinged with a little disappointment, the point could go a long way to securing Chelmsford’s East Premier A League status next season.
Buoyed by the recent improvement in results, Chelmsford started on the front foot and strung together some good passing movements. However, a lack of quality in the final third left the visitors frustrated. Chelmsford were made to pay with just five minutes left in the first half when a Dereham short corner was flung into the top right corner.
This seemed to spur Chelmsford into life, and as the clock ticked towards the interval, a run from deep found Adam Hunter unmarked at the top of the D. He fed a pass to Ollie Lane, and although his shot was blocked, the ball looped to the far post to Mike Millane who volleyed home off the keeper’s helmet.
Chelmsford carried this momentum into the second half, and it wasn’t long before they took the lead, when a well-executed short corner was finished by Hunter in the bottom right corner.
Chelmsford continued to look for further goals, but with 15 minutes to go Dereham stepped up their defensive press with which Chelmsford struggled to cope. They repeatedly surrendered possession cheaply in defence and midfield, and Dereham won a number of short corners which James McCann beat away in the Chelmsford goal.
Inevitably, Dereham’s pressure was made to pay with six minutes remaining when Chelmsford again lost possession in defence, and a Dereham forward drifted left on to his backhand and fired a shot inside McCann’s near post.
In recent weeks Chelmsford have provided plenty of late drama with goals in the dying seconds, and they nearly repeated the trick when Tom Fanger found himself in space on the penalty spot whose shot was only blocked at the expense of a short corner. With the final whistle sounding, Chelmsford failed to snatch the points when Elliott Seleska’s effort was charged down and cleared to safety.
In one of the tightest relegation battles in recent memory, just six points separate the six teams in the bottom half of the table with three games remaining. Following this draw, Chelmsford remain two points clear of Dereham who occupy the final relegation spot. Next week Chelmsford take on Ipswich who are just two points better off. The game starts at 12pm at Chelmer Park.