Havering 3 v Men's 4th XI
Previous visits in recent years to the Campion school had produced mixed memories for the M4s, including a lost opportunity after a last minute conceded goal forced a draw, Kitch stopping the ball with his finger and most disturbing; his post-match insistence on getting changed in the car park. Itís fair to say Kitch was not the only one left with scars from that day.
Fast forward to 2016 and the selection gods had smiled upon the Chelmsford squad, with the aforementioned Kitch, Rob and Sam all available again and Roy back once again from injury, happy days! Pre-match discussions dwelt upon our habit of starting slow and the importance of setting our stall out early with vigour and purpose. Ten minutes in and it was apparent that a youthful looking Havering had the same game plan and it must be said were executing it far more effectively than Chelmsford. A lot of the action was occurring in the Chelmsford D and allied to a high and aggressive Havering press, options to move the ball up field were severely limited. Solid (read; very physical) defence was therefore the order of the day as Haveringís young strikers pushed on.
With the first half well underway it felt like the storm was starting to abate, Roy and MotM Flash became free from defensive duties and were starting to work the midfield with Justin and Shaggers pushing up the wing. Justinís reluctance to pass has been a bone of contention of late, but the drive he made into the Havering D and the cool net busting shot that resulted made any past indiscretions irrelevant. 0-1 to Chelmsford!
This felt more like the M4 you know and love! Unfortunately almost immediately it was time for the M4s that you know and donít love to make a brief and untimely appearance; a lateral hit out from the edge of the Chelmsford D is not unusual, into a gap devoid of any Chelmsford players is and the sprightly Havering striker got there first. His first attempt was saved, but a strong second shot from the rebound found its mark 1-1. Red faces all-round and a guaranteed DotD for Captain Ross.
Any frustrations were quickly parked at half time as the squad gathered to discuss how we were going to break down the game in the M4s favour.
The second half began with the intensity as high as the first, but the tide was slowly turning as the M4s worked more on possession and improved distribution. Maybe through frustration, it was at this point the main Havering striker, in a flash of ambition over talent ran straight in at Kitch just as the sweeper was unloading a powerful hit. Rather unsurprisingly Kitchís still moving stick made contact with the oppos leg, bringing his game to an abrupt and unfortunately very painful end. (We wish him a speedy recovery).
Unlike the similar incident last week that seemed to fortify the opposition, this accident took some of the wind out of Haveringís sails. Chelmsford made the most of the respite and begun creating more opportunities against goal, from both outfield and multiple short corners - Flash especially working hard winning ball and distributing expertly. A resolute and skilful Havering keeper was having none of it, keeping them in the game time after time.
Just when it seemed that the outcome was to be a hard-fought draw, with minutes to go Tufty held his nerve and drilled another keeper deflection into the top right hand of the Havering goal. 1 - 2 to Chelmsford!
The final whistle couldnít come quickly enough for Chelmsford. This had been a tough, physical and tiring game, but the win rather than a draw maybe crucial when we look back at the season's end.
Another win for the M4ís has kept us in second place in the league, 7 points ahead of third place Maldon, who had their game postponed. Donít forget that M4 aficionados can keep up to date with all the latest news, views and gossip by following our (original and best) twitter feed @4_chc