Full time: Halstead Town 0-1 Chelmsford City.

The Clarets booked their spot in the BBC Essex Senior Cup round of 16 on Tuesday night following a tough game against Halstead Town. A goalless first half saw the deadlock broken midway through the second, as substitute Freddie Hockey was the matchwinner.

An audacious long ranged shot, from Samir Carruthers, was the Clarets’ best chance early on. He found space on the left-hand side of the box and attempted to test Halstead’s keeper, Jack Cherry. His effort whistled over the crossbar as the Humbugs’ keeper watched on.

Not long after this, Halstead got a chance of their own. Kane Gilbert, their top scorer, looked to test Jacob Marsden. The Clarets’ keeper saved, parrying straight to Alfie Cleal who could only squander the follow up, much to Marsden’s relief.

Marsden was once again called into action, towards the end of the half. Halstead opted to bombard the Chelmsford box with long throws throughout the half, but this one caused danger. Dave Winfield rose highest and headed only to see his attempted clearance loop behind him. Jacob Marsden was the hero as, on his 50th appearance, he scooped the ball up and away, denying any chance of a horror own goal for Winfield.

At the half time break, both sides were still searching for cut edge chances, with the Clarets turning to their bench ahead of the second 45. Finn Wilkes was replaced by Freddie Hockey, seeing them adopt a 2 up front system.

Halstead started the brightest as, with just a few minutes on the clock, they caused danger. Ade Funbi was able to get a shot away, once again testing Marsden before Gilbert was able to connect with the follow up but only skew it over the bar.

After settling into the half, the Clarets found a groove. This showed, as a well worked move ended inches away. It was worked well down the left, inviting Anthony Wordsworth to dart into the box. He looks to put it across the face of goal, which he did perfectly but to no Claret shirt, as a goal kick was awarded after the ball rolled through.

However, with 67 minutes played, the breakthrough finally came. Cherry’s goal kick was met by the head of Winfield who spurred the attack on. Callum Jones battled superbly and was on hand to knock the ball through to Freddie Hockey. Hockey made no mistake, as he put his effort under Cherry and into the back of the net, as the Clarets broke the deadlock.

Moments of jubilation were soon thwarted for the Clarets. Kane Gilbert and Anthony Wordsworth battled well, seeing Halstead win a throw in. A small tussle between the 2 ended Wordsworth’s night, as referee Aaron Farmer pulled the red card from his pocket. The Clarets were playing the final 20 with 10 men and had to alter their shape, once again.

Halstead had a great chance to get themselves back into the game as they looked to utilise the extra man advantage. Joel Older proved a tricky opponent, as he drove into the box and had a shot at goal, only to see it go just wide.

In the dying embers of the game, a huge chance came after the Clarets had weathered the Halstead storm. It was Callum Jones who had the shot, seeing Cherry save and parry, luckily for the Humbugs. However, with that, the full-time whistle was blown.

It was the who Clarets progressed into the 4th round of the Essex Senior Cup, after battling hard against Essex Senior League’s Halstead. They will be waiting for their opponent for the next round, which will be drawn on Friday December 1st at 6:45pm on BBC Sport Essex.

The Clarets continue to be on the road on Saturday, as they travel to Twerton park to play Jerry Gill’s Bath City. Likewise, it is an away trip for Halstead as they travel to play Little Oakley.

Halstead Town XI: Cherry (GK), Coppen, Travell, Bennett, Schelvis, Simon-Parsons, Gilbert, Cleal, Funbi, Futton, Older

Unused subs: Palmer, Yates, Pinkney, Morris, Stark

Yellow cards: Simon-Parsons

Chelmsford City XI: Marsden (GK), Brookes, Wordsworth, Winfield (C), Carruthers (Gregory 87’), Jones, Ruff (Ochieng 81’), Barnum-Bobb, Wilkes (Hockey 45’), Watts, Nicolaou

Unused subs: Davison, Coker

Yellow cards: Jones 87’, Watts 90+1’

Red Card: Wordsworth 72’

Attendance: 514

Words by Josh Lowe

Cover image by Roger Robinson Photography

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