Super Sub Hitchcock rescues Clarets
Substitute Thomas Hitchcock scored an 88th-minute equaliser to salvage a point for Chelmsford City against Bath City at the Melbourne Community Stadium.
Hitchcock rose off the bench with twelve minutes remaining and managed to glance a far post header past Luke Southwood to rescue a point after the hosts took the lead after a minute of the second half.
Chelmsford City boss Rod Stringer made 1 changes to the side that progressed to the BBC Essex Senior Cup semi-finals on Tuesday. Craig Braham-Barrett, Anthony Church, Chris Dickson and Kudus Oyenuga all returned to the starting eleven while Lee Barnard, Jonathan Giles, Daniel Green and Michael West took spots on the substitute’s bench.
The Clarets started the half brightly and almost took a second minute lead. Scott Davies’ long throw-in was headed downwards by Church to Oyenuga however his shot took a deflection and Southwood was forced to recover quickly in order to stop the ball from trickling over the line.
Bath then had their own chance moments later after Church carelessly fouled Frankie Artus on the edge of the box. Nick Compton stepped up to strike the dead-ball but he struck a low shot and the set-piece was cleared away.
Southwood put himself in danger when he rushed out of his area to deal with a loose ball, however he remained composed despite being under pressure and simply passed off the pitch before returning to his goal-line.
Compton struck a four-man wall from another free-kick but moments later the visitors took their largest step to scoring. A right-wing corner was swung to the far post when Kevin Amankwaah was looming, the defender headed down into the ground and the ball ricocheted off Church however Beasant was aware and dealt with the deflection.
The visitors had a goal disallowed after 25 minutes when a long left-wing cross met Nat Jarvis’ run, however the midfielder’s effort was ruled out for offside.
City’s management team had their heart in their mouths when Beasant – who injured his groin in the warm-up – was forced into an acrobatic save when Jarvis flashed Anthony Straker’s cross towards goal, however the Chelmsford shot-stopper was not injured any further and continued.
Bath continued their intense pressure towards the end of the half but both sides went into the break having had late chances. Jarvis’ snapshot from Compton’s through-ball was held well, then Graham’s weaving run allowed Church to shoot inside the area, but it was blocked.
Chelmsford made their first substitution of the afternoon at the interval, with Rod Stringer option to replace Matthew Johnson with Michael West. The change allowed City to have more options when attacking but it left the Clarets vulnerable at the back.
This vulnerability was carefully exploited by the Romans inside the opening minutes of the second half as the visitors took the lead. Andy Watkins carefully weaved his way into the box, aided by Haines’ slip, before he saw his shot take a deflection off Church’s back and over Beasant. However, Ross Stearn arrived at the far-post and poked home under pressure from Braham-Barrett to ensure the ball went over the line.
Just before the hour-break the hosts had another chance to level but the Romans’ defence stood firm. West delivered a high cross into the box which was headed away, the ball fell to Davies who struck fiercely but it was blocked. The rebound returned to West but the substitute could only watch as his shot curled just wide.
Chelmsford’s second change saw further additions to the attacking options, with Stringer making a like-for-like change by swapping Christopher Dickson for Lee Barnard on 62 minutes.
Oyenuga’s weighted pass on sixty-six minutes allowed Graham to strike towards goal, however his fierce effort produced a superb fingertip save from the Bath shot-stopper. Moments later Oyenuga had his own chance to find the net but his shot was weak and lacked accuracy as it went wide.
With twelve minutes left City made their final change: Thomas Hitchcock coming on for Oyenuga. Hitchcock had faced a spell outside the squad due to competition for places and his poor form in scoring, however the striker returned to the line-up with a point to prove.
Hitchcock came close to immediately showing his worth when his header was cleared off the line, but it was almost a different story for City as Bath broke immediately. Romans substitute Matt Richards reeled onto the clearance and rounded Beasant, however a foot-race between him and Braham-Barrett was dramatically won by the latter as City held on by a thread.
Hitchcock then had another shot blocked in a crowded box before he finally levelled. The super substitute rose highest to flick Church’s cross beyond Southwood and rescue a late point for the Clarets with two minutes remaining.
With a point all but secured Chelmsford reverted to playing defensively and a sigh of relief was released when Whistler David Spain blew his whistle after five additional minutes to end the game and grant Chelmsford a point from a well-fought game.
1. Sam Beasant
2. Elliot Omozusi ©
3. Craig Braham-Barrett
4. Scott Davies
5. Michael Spillane
6. Mark Haines
7. Matthew Johnson
8. Anthony Church
9. Kudus Oyenuga
10. Christopher Dickson
11. Bagasan Graham
12. Lee Barnard (62’ on for Christopher Dickson)
14. Thomas Hitchcock (78’ on for Kudus Oyenuga)
15. Jonathan Giles
16. Daniel Green
18. Michael West (46’ on for Matthew Johnson)
1. Luke Southwood
2. Miles Welch-Hayes
3. Anthony Straker
4. Frankie Artus
5. Kevin Amankwaah
6. Jack Batten
7. Ross Stearn
8. James Norton
9. Nat Jarvis
10. Andy Watkins
11. Jack Compton
12. Mike Kelly
14. Matt Richards (69’ on for Andy Watkins)
15. George Rigg
16. Ryan Case
18. Kieran Hodges
Chelmsford City: Thomas Hitchcock (88’)
Bath City: Ross Stearn (46’)
Chelmsford City: None.
Bath City: Frankie Artus (72’), Miles Welch-Hayes (75’).
Chelmsford City: None.
Bath City: None.
Match Officials: David Spain, assisted by Ollie Butcher and Michael Robertson-Tant.
Half Time Score: Chelmsford City 0-0 Bath City
Full Time Score: Chelmsford City 1-1 Bath City