Of four successive defeats, including the FA Cup exit at Maidenhead United, this was the poorest performance, and the Sports deserved nothing from their afternoon at the Melbourne Stadium. Chelmsford are a powerful and physical side, on their own splendid run of form which includes pitching Aldershot Town out of the FA Cup, and Danny Bloor’s side were second best.
In fairness, after a catastrophic start, the Sports had steadied the ship and were still in the game at half-time. But then it got worse….
Just seven minutes in, Harry Lodovica swapped passes with Charlie Ruff, found space between the centre-backs and poked in a simple goal from twelve yards. And two minutes later, an Eastbourne free-kick was intercepted, and with Sports defenders scrambling to get back, Ruff raced through to meet Simeon Jackson’s low ball in from the left for 2-0.
If that start could not have been worse, the Borough response was better. The next half-hour saw at least four chances to strike back: a Hammond header too high after good work by Remy and Innocent, an Alex Wynter header cannoning back of the post, a brilliant Remy run and angled shot denied by a brilliant save, and a Hutchinson break beating the offside but saved at the near post. Oh, and another Shiloh break curtailed by a very dubious offside flag. Fine margins; but enough to suggest that the game was not yet over.
Two minutes into the second half, it suddenly was over. The Sports broke out of defence, Hammond’s smart pass sending Greg Luer streaking clear – and as Chelmsford scrambled frantically back, Luer set up Hutchinson. But with a lot of goal to shoot at, the striker could only hit the City keeper. At 2-1, they were back in the game with a bang. At 0-2, they slipped out of it with a whimper.
Just past the hour mark, Lee Worgan pulled off a blinding save to deny Ruff, but from the corner the Sports keeper – possibly impeded by his own defender – saw Ade Oluwo’s header deflected past him for 3-0.
Another three minutes, another corner, another header, another goal. This time it was Simeon Jackson who claimed the honours, but with the visitors in this shape, it might have been a game of head-tennis on the beach. It was the body language of a losing side.
The Sports held out for a while, but we were now only counting the minutes, and with seven to go, Jamie Yila claimed the final goal from close range after a deflected Kai Yearn shot.
Referee Steve Parkinson had an outstanding afternoon, and his only failing was not to call the game off there and then. Apparently it’s in the rules that you have to play the full ninety…
The post-match activity has been well documented, with Danny Bloor and his players showing the dignity to offer apologies to supporters (and reporters). We understand, Gaffer. Footballers are human beings: one young player had brought seven of his family along. Football is a game of downs as well as ups, and there surely will be a bounce back very soon.
Borough: Worgan; Barry, Wynter (Burchell 76), Dickenson, Innocent; Hammond, Vaughan (Mbonkwi 69); Luer, Perez (Gravata 57), Remy; Hutchinson. Unused subs: Seymour, Walker.
Referee: Stephen Parkinson Att: 644
Borough MoM: not awarded
Photo credit: Lydia Redman Photography