Late Dickson goal rescues away point
Chris Dickson’s added time equaliser rescued a point for Chelmsford City away to Hungerford Town.
Nicholas Bignall’s long range effort gave the hosts a half-time lead after City failed to impress in an abject first half, however Dickson’s deflected effort levelled the scores in second half added time.
Clarets boss Rod Stringer, who was making his first appearance in the dug-out following a three-game touchline ban, made several changes to the side that were beaten 2-0 at Oxford City: Jazzi Barnum-Bobb and Scott Fenwick made debuts for the Clarets after signing during the week.
Bagasan Graham, Taylor Miles, Jonathan Giles and Kudus Oyenuga all missed out on a start as Matthew Johnson and Scott Davies joined the two debutants in the starting eleven.
In a battle between two sides at opposite ends of the table, a neutral spectator would have been more than pleased with the entertaining nature of the opening fifteen minutes.
A superb pass wide from Fenwick allowed Barnum-Bobb to find space on the right wing. The former Newport County full-back drove forward before cross into box, however his delivery was just too high for Fenwick to direct over the line.
Meanwhile, the Crusaders came close to taking the lead after six minutes when Chris Smith deflected a left-wing cross past Sam Beasant, although the on-loan defender reacted quickly to clear the ball off the line.
Chelmsford were forced to make two unexpected changes when Michael Spillane and Phil Roberts both went down with injuries, with City boss Stringer opting to replace the duo with Jonny Giles and Chris Dickson respectively.
Roberts’ replacement came close to opening the scoring when he reeled onto Fenwick’s clever pass, however he was unable to get a conclusive touch to beat Marcus Beauchamp at his near post.
As the game progressed on the hosts began to settle down and assert pressure. Anton Rodgers scuffed a shot wide after comfortably winning the ball from Davies. However, four minutes later Bignall drove a low shot past Beasant from 25-yards out to give Hungerford the lead.
The hosts almost doubled their lead minutes later although their in-swinging cross had too much distance and went out of play.
The Crusaders dominated the opening stages of the second half and could have easily extended their lead. Rodgers’ teasing cross caused havoc in the visiting box, however Conor Lynch and Bignall were unable to convert at the far post. Then a fierce low cross from the left-wing was struck marginally wide by Richie Whittingham.
Chelmsford came close to levelling when Johnson slotted debutant Fenwick through-on-goal. The Geordie striker touched inside before shooting however Beauchamp’s low save kept the ball out.
The Clarets came close again on the hour-mark, but Dickson headed Johnson’s right-wing cross just over the crossbar.
Hungerford appeared most likely to double their lead through a lightning counter-attack. The hosts came close on 64 minutes when Diak John found space down the left channel, his cross found Bignall but the final shot went wide.
The Crusaders’ striker came close again six minutes later, this time driving a low shot wide of the far-post from just inside the area.
An incredible cross from Barnum-Bobb spotted substitute Taylor Miles’ run at the far-post, however the midfielder was unable to head home from an unmarked position. A minute later Church headed over Johnson’s long-throw from an advantageous position.
Ian Herring’s side came incredibly close to doubling their lead when Beasant rushed out of his goal. However, Whittingham’s lobbed effort was very quickly dealt with by Braham-Barrett on the goal-line.
It seemed that any chances of a leveller had been crushed when Miles’ sent a first-time effort over the bar. Although City managed to salvage a late point when Dickson cut inside and saw his shot take a wicked deflection which dumb-founded Beauchamp and trickled over the line.
The Clarets will now plan for another long away trip when they travel to Truro City on Saturday afternoon as they hope to return to winning ways.