Clarets continue winning run at East Thurrock
Scott Fenwick’s goalscoring exploits continued as Chelmsford City cruised to a 4-2 in over East Thurrock United.
The 28-year-old striker opened the scoring on two minutes before Sam Higgins levelled midway through the first half.
Fenwick then went on to score a hat-trick of penalties for the second consecutive game, while substitute Lewis Smith pulled a goal back for the hosts midway through the second half.
City boss Rod Stringer made two changes to the side that beat Whitehawk 4-2 five days ago as Phil Roberts missed out through injury, while Chris Smith returned to his parent club Ipswich Town. Taylor Miles and Shaun Batt both filled their respective places in the starting eleven.
The Clarets started brightly as Bagasan Graham tested the Rocks’ defence, but the speedy winger saw the ball stolen away just as he looked to strike towards Lukas Lidakevicius’ goal.
But the visitors had to wait just two more minutes before they took the lead. Jonny Giles found himself in space down the right wing. The winger curled a right-footed cross into the area which met Fenwick’s high leap at the near post as City broke the deadlock.
City looked to extend their early lead after just ten minutes, but Lidakevicius held on tightly after Graham’s cross was deflected towards goal by home midfielder Michael Clark. Moments later Graham completed a cross, it fell to Giles but he shot well over after turning neatly on the spot.
Higgins proved his worth as the League’s top scorer when he levelled the proceedings after 22 minutes. Having latched onto a long ball over the City defence, Higgins had his initial shot saved well by Sam Beasant but the rebound fell kindly at the striker’s feet and he fired home.
Fenwick came close to restoring City’s lead soon after but, after skipping past Lee Burns, the City striker had his point-blanc effort turned away by an outstretched Lidakevicius. The Lithuanian shot-stopper then produced two saves in quick succession as he was forced to deny Michael Spillane from close range.
With three minutes of the first half remaining, whistler Robert Massey-Ellis pointed to the spot when Shaun Batt was felled in the area. Midfielder Clarke received a yellow card for the foul and Lidakevicius was made the victim as Fenwick stroked his penalty into the bottom right corner to restore City’s lead at the interval.
John Coventry opted to make a change at the break, replacing the booked Clarke with Lewis Smith.
Fenwick could have extended City’s lead five minutes into the second half after rounding Lidakevicius, but the striker was unable to poke home under fierce pressure from Simon Peddie.
Although the Clarets’ pressure eventually reaped rewards as they were awarded another penalty after Ryan Sammons caught Spillane. This time Lidakevicius guessed the right way but was unable to deny Fenwick his hat-trick.
Having fallen to a two-goal deficit, Rocks boss Coventry made his final rolls of the dice by swapping Ryan Scott and Harry Phipps with Joe Christou and Montel Agyemang.
But, five minutes later, City’s lead was extended to three as Fenwick scored his sixth penalty in two games after Batt was fouled in the area.
Having watched his side earn a dominant lead, City boss Stringer made his first change as he replaced the tiring Batt with Kudus Oyenuga.
The hosts pulled a mere consolation goal back on 75 minutes but it came with contention from City. Taylor Miles appeared to have been fouled as Smith won the ball on the half-way line but no foul was awarded. The substitute subsequently drove forward past the Chelmsford defence and kept his composure as he poked past Beasant.
Having been injured in the process, City were forced into making a second change as Miles was replaced by Josh Wallen - an injury which could leave Chelmsford short in the midfield department in the coming weeks.
Higgins came close to scoring his second of the afternoon but, after weaving through the Clarets defence, he shot straight into Beasant’s hands.
City almost scored a fifth when Giles, Fenwick and substitute Cameron James linked up well, but the result remained at 4-2 as the latter saw his low shot saved well.
The comprehensive win leaves City on the back of four consecutive victories and now in strong contention to finish the season in third place, thus avoiding the extra Play Offs Qualification Round.