CHELMSFORD CITY 2 HAMPTON & RICHMOND BOROUGH 0
By Steve Parker
Murphy double secures the points
Two goals in five minutes from Rhys Murphy eased Chelmsford City past Hampton & Richmond Borough to extend the Clarets' winning streak to four games.
Murphy's quick-fire first half goals sealed the points before referee Philip Staynings had to be substituted early in the second half after injuring his hamstring.
FA accredited City fan Andrew Palmer took over as linesman, but the delay in proceedings resulted in 20 minutes of added time at the end of the game.
Hampton pressed high from the very first minute and had the first effort of the game within three. The ball ping-ponged around the box from Jack Connors' corner, before falling to Tyrell Miller-Rodney who shot wide from the inside edge of the area.
Chez Isaac had City's first sight of goal after 13 minutes. Scott Fenwick did well to work the ball into the box from a wide position, and as it was half cleared Isaac ran onto the loose ball and lashed a shot just wide.
Murphy put City into the lead after 22 minutes, latching onto a long ball from the goalkeeper, and confidently slotting his shot into the bottom corner.
Murphy's second came just five minutes later, and it was a beautiful example of solo endeavour followed by pin perfect technique. The striker performed a one-two with Fenwick on the left of midfield, jinked between a few Hampton players, and then executed a sublime finish with the outside of his boot from some 20 yards.
After a period where Hampton saw virtually none of the ball, Chris Dickson very nearly fashioned a counter-attack goal from absolutely nothing. Spillane lost the ball after pushing past the half way line, and Dickson pounced on the free ball. The former Clarets striker bombed through the Chelmsford back line, running most of two thirds of the pitch, before forcing Nathan McDonald into a close-range save. Luckily Matthew Young was fast to track back and prevented the ball getting near the goal.
The Clarets were back on the attack straight from the second half restart, and Anthony Church forced a corner when his shot from inside the box was smartly saved by Tom Lovelock.
There was a break in play after 10 minutes of the second period as referee Philip Staynings went down injured. After a 10 minute lull in the action, City supporter - and FA accredited referee - got changed into his gear and assumed the place of the linesman who stepped in to replace the stricken official.
Dickson had been kept quiet most of the game, and so when he received the ball for the first time in too long, he went straight for goal from 25 yards. In fairness, McDonald was off his line and the lob shot was only a few yards too far to drop in under the bar, but it was a desperate shot from a man and a team who'd shown very little to trouble City.
Hampton were getting all of their rare chances from counter-attacks. In the 88th minute the Clarets' corner was cleared and the Beavers raced up field through pacey centre back Richard Orlu. Craig Dundass was the one who carried the move into the final third, but his tame effort was straight down McDonald's throat.
And so began the epically long injury time. Usually a straight forward three or four minute affair, today it would be 20. McDonald produced a number of strong saves late on from a barrage of corners to keep a clean sheet, but his side's lead was never threatened.