While Chelmsford may have believed a result was possible against Bedford, only the most optimistic of supporters would have given them any hope against a St Albans side with their league title destiny in their own hands. The odds looked even longer when St Albans dominated from the start and led 3-0 halfway through the first period through a series of well executed short corners.
However, showing the fight that had brought two consecutive wins, Chelmsford clawed their way back into the match. St Albans did not help their cause when a yellow card was shown for a stick tackle to a player who had already been greed carded for a raised stick earlier in the game. Winning a number of short corners of their own, it was only a matter of time before Chelmsford converted, and it was eventually Mepham who pulled one back from a deflected strike at goal. It was not long before Vasan Veerapalan repeated the trick with another short corner routine being diverted past a wrong footed keeper.
With the half time whistle blowing, Chelmsford earned themselves one final set piece of the period, and earned an unlikely share of the lead when Veerapalan was first to react to a rebound and turn home the equaliser.
After the break, St Albans approached the game like they had done in the early stages, and retook the lead with another short corner arrowed into the top left corner. However, St Albans still seemed shaken by the Chelmsford comeback and became more and more frustrated with the umpires as the game wore on. Chelmsford took advantage to win another short corner, and despite the routine breaking down once again, Tom Gore showed composure beyond his years to pick out Veerapalan on the penalty spot, and although his attempt was blocked, Mike Millane tidied up the loose ball with a close range finish.
Although holding out for a result was still an immense task, Chelmsford’s hand was strengthened with 15 minutes to play when the St Albans player completed his traffic lights with a red card for raising his hands at Dave Gore in a tackle. This seemed to refocus St Albans, who held on to possession for long periods as they tried to break down the Chelmsford defence. It was Chelmsford though who had the best chance to win the game when, just like the first half, they forced a short corner on the final whistle. However, this time it was not meant to be as Shulel Malique’s low effort at goal was pushed wide and eventually cleared to safety.
St Albans: 4
Next week Chelmsford travel to a Dereham side that sit just one place below them in the table in a game that will shape the survival chances of both sides.