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Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Chelmsford City

Cambridge (48)

Hednesford Town

Poston (65)

(0) 1

(0) 1



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Lee Barrow



Welling United (H) 9.2.02

A game between two evenly-matched sides ends in a predictable draw this afternoon at Billericay Town's New Lodge ground as the Pitmen earn themselves a useful point against Chelmsford City 

Once again, the weather had hampered any progress the Pitmen were trying to make as the recent spell of rain had postponed their home game against Newport County last weekend. Kenny Hibbitt had made another move into the transfer market to bring in Scottish-Nigerian striker Wale-Kwik Ajet to bolster his shot-shy attack in the continued absence of Neil Davis and the lack of goals from the supporting cast of Leon Brown, Kevin Francis and Damien Charie. Ajet was handed a full debut for today's game, replacing Brown in one of three changes as Andy Brownrigg also came back into the side in place of the injured Russell Dodd and skipper Mark Haran returned to replace Wayne Simpson

Mid-table Chelmsford had picked up a crucial win over Weymouth in midweek to end a rotten run of recent league form that had seen them lose five games in a row. Manager Paul Parker - the former Manchester United and England right-back - stuck with the same side that had started against Weymouth as he looked for a continuation of his side's winning form from Monday night

The game was played with a gale-force wind blowing across the pitch for the whole ninety minutes, making long passing an issue for both sides and leading to unintentional errors throughout the game

The Pitmen got to grips with the difficult conditions the quickest of the two sides and had the best of the early chances in the ninth minute of the game; Richard Hurst's goal kick was caught in the wind and dropped straight into the feet of the in-form Stuart Lake, who brought the ball down and tried his luck from twenty-five yards out with a dipping shot that just cleared the crossbar

Two minutes later, former Hednesford loanee Mike Bignall lashed a shot high and wide of goal for the Clarets as he got the better of Matt Gardiner and fired a first-time shot in at goal from the edge of the Hednesford penalty area

Lee Barrow had the Pitmen's best chance of the opening fifteen minutes from close range, turning his shot over the crossbar from ten yards out after a Richard Lucas corner was not cleared by the Chelmsford defence

New boy Tom Poston went even closer to opening the scoring for the away side midway through the first half as Hurst failed to effectively deal with a Lucas cross from the left before parrying an instinctive shot from Lake, only for the loose ball to run to Poston who turned his shot over the crossbar from an angle

Two minutes later, Stewart Airdrie made a fine mazy run down the left wing to leave two Chelmsford players in his wake before slipping the ball through to Lake, whose powerful first-time effort drifted just over Hurst's crossbar

Bignall capitalised on a terrible piece of miscommunication between Brownrigg and Mark Gayle on twenty-eight minutes as the pair left a bouncing ball to each other, allowing the former Kidderminster and Aylesbury striker to nip in and turn his shot narrowly wide of the far post. A real let-off for the Pitmen and yet another illustration - as if Hibbitt needs any more - of the lack of cohesive thinking within his defensive line

A good run from Ian Cambridge three minutes later saw him escape the attentions of Haran before wildly lifting his shot over the crossbar from twenty yards out after the ball had sat up nicely for him

Ajet had struggled with the pace of the game so far, showing a few nice touches in and around the Chelmsford penalty area but lacking a presence inside the final third. He played a nicely-weighted pass to strike partner Lancashire on thirty-five minutes, only for a covering challenge from Brian Statham to deny the former Burnley man a clear strike at goal

This was to prove to be Lancashire's final meaningful contribution to the game as he was forced off on thirty-nine minutes with what appeared to be a groin strain. Rather than bring on the experienced figure of Kevin Francis, Hibbitt elected to bring on youngster Brown to partner Ajet up front against the far more experienced Chelmsford defence

Lake - having another fine game for the Pitmen in the middle of the park - sprayed a fine ball out to Airdrie on forty-three minutes with an instinctive first-time pass to play the winger into acres of space down the left. Airdrie took a couple of touches before swinging in a cross that was missed by both Ajet and Brown as it flashed across the face of goal and wide of danger

In added time a corner kick from Neil Gough was met by the head of Tom Davey, but his header lacked power and direction and ended up sailing high over Gayle's crossbar

It had been a fairly even encounter, with the Pitmen edging possession but Chelmsford having arguably the best chance of the half through Bignall. It had been a slightly pedestrian performance from both sides, with the wind constantly disrupting both team's passing game and any set-pieces into the penalty area

Cambridge went close to handing his side the lead just sixty seconds into the second period as he shimmied his way past Barrow and fired narrowly over the crossbar from fifteen yards out

Two minutes later, Cambridge got his angles right as he gave the Clarets the lead after the Pitmen had conceded a needless free-kick through Brownrigg on the edge of their own penalty area. With the visitors still organising their wall, Davey touched the ball to Cambridge, whose well-struck low shot beat Gayle and found the corner of the net via a touch off the right-hand post

Chelmsford had their tails up and almost struck again four minutes later as Davey himself tried his luck with a long-range effort that skipped across the face of Gayle's goal and narrowly wide of the far post

Bignall beat the flimsy Hednesford offside trap on fifty-eight minutes and turned the ball back into the path of Chris Tovey, whose first-time effort was turned away by a firm hand from Gayle before Gardiner completed the clearance

Lake was booked by referee Mr Tincknell three minutes later for a mistimed challenge on Davey as the midfield man looked to break into the Hednesford half, irking Parker and his staff in the process with the foul taking place right in front of their dugout

Despite starting the second half slowly, the Pitmen got themselves back on level terms on sixty-five minutes with a freak first Hednesford goal for Poston; Lake handed possession to the winger, picking the ball up thirty yards from goal. His ambitious long-range effort looked to be a simple claim for Hurst, but took a wicked bounce off the turf in front of the Chelmsford keeper and bounced over his body and into the corner of the net

Suddenly it was the Pitmen with all of the momentum as they forced three successive corner kicks in a bid to force home their territorial advantage. Airdrie's outswinging ball found the head of Barrow on seventy minutes, but the Pitmen's man of the match headed narrowly over the bar from ten yards out

Brown was denied a good chance for the visitors three minutes later as he got into a shooting position from Brownrigg's pass, only to be denied a clear sight at goal by Statham's block tackle

Barrow produced a similar tackle for the Pitmen at the other end two minutes later, sliding in to deny Tovey a shot at goal after Cambridge's incisive through ball into the box

Charie was brought on for Poston with thirteen minutes remaining as the Pitmen looked for more pace down the right flank with the introduction of the teenager

Ajet was pulled up by a late offside flag two minutes later as he finally got goal side of Ian Wiles, only for the striker to have moved too early as he got on the end of an Airdrie pass

Charie did well to turn Ben Lewis on eighty-three minutes and cross low into the penalty area, where fellow teenager Brown was lurking. Brown took his eye off the ball, however, and lifted his shot high over the crossbar from a promising position

More set-pieces followed at both ends as the game entered the final five minutes of normal time; Barrow's header at the far post from a Lucas corner was smuggled away from goal by a combination of Hurst and Lewis, whilst at the other end a free-kick from Davey was pushed over his crossbar by Gayle. The resultant corner kick was headed out as far as Cambridge, whose volley from fifteen yards out was blocked by the Hednesford defence and cleared

In added time, Chelmsford substitute Junior Samuels did well to leave Haran behind and try his luck with a shot from twenty yards out that Gayle was relieved to watch past his left-hand post

A fair result on the balance of play, but a point apiece does little for either side's ambitions or needs for their current situation. The sight of Lancashire limping off will have been a worrisome one for Hibbitt, particularly with Davis still sidelined due to his own injury and his striking options now limited ahead of Monday night's big derby clash against Stafford Rangers at Keys Park

Chelmsford City: Hurst, Cross, Lewis, Girling, Wiles, Statham, Cambridge, Davey, Bignall (Samuels 84), Tovey, Gough (Williamson 68)      Sub Unused: Skelley

Hednesford Town: Gayle, Brownrigg, Lucas, Haran ©, GardinerBarrow, Lake , Airdrie, Ajet, Lancashire (Brown 39), Poston (Charie 77)      Sub Unused: Francis

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