Bill Robinson reports from Melbourne Park…..
The first of two meetings between these two sides over the festive season and unfortunately this encounter found referee Mr Lee Betts with a new whistle so he had to keep blowing it constantly, obviously to see if it worked.
The consequence was that what promised to be a thrilling local derby failed to live up to the free flowing football that the 1,017 fans had turned up to see.
The shape of the game should have come to light after Mr Betts booked young 18 year old Reiss Gilbey in the fourth minute after two tackles that were clumsy not malicious, just too much enthusiasm.
Chelmsford should have taken the lead in the 13th minute when Leon McKenzie was helping out his defence but ran into trouble and that let Chelmsford skipper in on a one on one with Joe Woolley, his shot beat Woolley but thudded against the post and McKenzie redeemed himself by clearing the rebound.
The referee this time aided by his linesmen Maurice Cook in the 16th minute decided that a dive from Chelmsford Ricky Modeste after losing control of the ball warranted a yellow card for Lee Fynn when no contact had been made.
The game stuttered along and it was only in the closing minutes of the half that The Clarets but the Thurrock defence under pressure, it resulted in another innocuous yellow card this time for Kenny Clark but that was after Matt Lock beat the Thurrock back four and drove a shot across goal but wide.
At the start of the second half Thurrock played there best football of the game, they won there first corner of the match in the 51st minute and when they got there second corner on 55 minutes it was Phil Anderson’s head that got to the ball first but his header was just inches too high.
Just before the hour was up Chelmsford Manager Glenn Pennyfather made a tactical change bringing on Rob Edmans whose height even against his own players looked enormous and against some of the Thurrock players was at least a foot, or should I say Head and shoulders.
Chelmsford were now pushing forward looking for a winner, a goal from either team never seemed likely as both defences seemed to be coping well.
On 70 minutes the long legs of Rob Edmans beat the offside trap and was one on one with keeper Woolley who managed to drive Edmans wide and with the angle just too much his shot went into the side netting.
A long kick by Woolley found Leon McKenzie on the right flank, his marker headed the ball of play but to everyone’s surprise the Linesman awarded the throw to Chelmsford, McKenzie’s verbal reaction earned him a place in the ref’s book.
With 90 minutes played the board showed that a minimum of three added minutes would be played Chelmsford pushed on and won a corner, taken by Holmes on the left, he curled the ball in towards the six yard box keeper Woolley came to punch but appeared impeded by two Claret shirts the ball bounced off heads off the bar before dropping into a mass scramble of legs, the foot of Ben Martin managed to get the vital touch which put the ball into the net.
The Thurrock players protested furiously to the referee and some handbags were flying, the referee decided the goal was ok but added a fifth Thurrock player to his book that of Phil Anderson.
Thurrock will be looking for a better performance in the return fixture next Saturday at Ship Lane as three points for both teams is better than two draws as both teams are keen to maintain a play off place.
Subs Not Used: Ryan Andrews, Jamie Doyle, Rob Swaine,Ryan Stalley.