The game finally kicked off, 9 minutes after the scheduled time, but we were underway as Rayleigh made a short trip to play the Clarets. An early chance arose for Chelmsford as a corner was won inside the first minute. Mia Brisley was across to take, and her excellent delivery whipped around to the back post, missing everyone but coming extremely close to ending up in the back of the net. Rayleigh looked to create a good chance as their number 11 worked her way through the Clarets’ midfield before Jamie Newstead stepped in and intercepted well, allowing the hosts to regain the possession. Minutes later, after the ball struck the referee, Chelmsford got a chance as Brisley sent a dangerous ball up, from the drop ball, which Abi Hopkins latched onto and won a corner. The delivery was dangerous but cleared up by the Rayleigh defenders. Rayleigh’s number 8 gave them their first dangerous play, as her great ball down the line sent their number 3 through. Newstead sent her wide and forced her into producing only a poor cross, which Hannah Streetley dealt with well. Yet again, Rayleigh found themselves through as their number 11 was 1 on 1 with Hannah Streetley. She set herself well and fired a good effort goalwards, but Hannah was prepared for it, being able to save and hold well.
The Clarets looked to come forward, after playing out from the back. Brisley sent a good ball over the top, which Ellie Dopson got onto the end off. She cut inside and had a shot, which the Rayleigh keeper was able to save. Brisley was at the heart of it again, as she received the ball back from her throw and delivered a good ball towards Dopson. She looked to challenge, but the Rayleigh goalkeeper managed to get to the ball first. Next up, Helen Adler got herself a chance. She laid the ball out to Brisley who crossed well, seeing the ball put out to Adler. She chested the ball and volleyed goalwards but sent it wide of the post. Against the run of play, Rayleigh cam forward with the ball. Their number 5, captain, picked the ball up halfway in her own half and managed to wiggle her way through before she was thwarted and tackled well. As Chelmsford regained possession, they looked to come forward. Ellie Dopson picked up the ball and found Kaci Crook as she was through on goal. Kaci took aim and fired, seeing her shot nestle into the top corner. From back to front in quick succession, the Clarets took the lead in style.
The visitors looked to respond, once again finding joy as their number 3 was sent through by a good ball from their number 7. However, once again sweeper keeper Hannah Streetley was on hand to clear. After linking up for the goal, Dopson and Crook did once again, with an almost carbon copy. The Rayleigh keeper saved well but the Clarets were showing just what they could do. Crook was involved in the play once again as Streetley’s long kick bounced down and over the Rayleigh defenders. Crook got to it and forced a good block, winning a corner. Much like her first, Mia Brisley delivered an excellent corner towards the back post, almost ending up in the goal but once again just passing through. With the half coming to a close, there was another late chance. Kaci Crook beat the offside trap and managed to find space on the right-hand side. She delivered to the back post where Helen Adler headed at goal, but just wide of the post. Adler had another chance, with the minutes dwindling down. Charlotte Palmer played a beautiful outside of the boot ball and Adler was through, producing an effort which needed saving and was saved well. An extra 3 minutes were played at the end of the half, which brought nothing of any notice as the half ended 1-0 to the Clarets.
HALF TIME: CCFC WOMEN 1-0 RTFC WOMEN
Two new players were introduced at the break, and one of them, Emma Rushen was immediately involved as she looked to find Ellie Dopson in the box, but Rayleigh’s keeper was able to clean up before any danger occurred. A series of thrown-ins down in the corner of Rayleigh’s half eventually ended as Holly Richards clipped the ball behind for a goal kick. Rayleigh looked to grow into the half, as they maintained possession well, trying to release their number 3 and see her through. Simon Horne turned to his bench next, as Abi Hopkins was replaced by Ellie Lowe, who looks to continue her goal-scoring form from last week. After 1 wonder goal in the first half, Emma Rushen nearly scored another as the ball bounced down to her about 30 yards out and she fired a fierce effort just over the bar. Just under halfway through the half, Rayleigh had their best chance of the half. An excellent give-and-go between their number 3 and 5 saw their captain through on goal. Hannah came out and kept herself tall, seeing the Rayleigh player send her effort just wide of the post.
As well passed the halfway mark, another change was made. Jamie Newstead came off, after a solid performance. Lucy Dalgarno replaced her for the final 20 minutes. Another wonderful shot by the Clarets saw an excellent save by the keeper. Ashleigh Holland got some good space and hit a powerful effort toward goal seeing the keeper get across to save. 2 corners followed and 2 chances. Firstly, a header was blocked well and turned behind. Secondly, the ball fell to Ellie Dopson on the edge of the box, as she sent her effort over the bar. Rayleigh got themselves a great chance as number 5 hit a great free kick which Hannah tipped onto the bar. The ball then bounced off the bar again, before she flicked it behind for a corner. The number 5 was across to take the corner, but Ellie Lowe was on hand to head it away before she closed the 5 down and forced her into a mistake. The play was stopped just moments after, as Emma Rushen took a blow to the face and saw her game end early. Helen Adler was on to replace her after the reverse of this substitute happened at half time.
We entered the final 10 minutes with Ellie Lowe looking to find her way through the Rayleigh defenders, only for a few good tackles to stop her in her tracks. She was involved again after some good pressing saw the 2 Ellies look to cause danger before Rayleigh managed to win the ball back. For the second time in the game, the referee got in the way of a Clarets chance, seeing a drop ball allow the chance to send the ball into the box. The Clarets did do so, only to see a Rayleigh head to the ball first. 1 final sub saw goal scorer Kaci Crook make way as Abi Hopkins was on. She was straight into the thick of it as Rosie Coe sent a brilliant ball through seeing Abi challenge and win a corner. The delivery was straight to the head of Ashleigh Holland, who forced a great save from the keeper. The ball fell straight to Ellie Dopson who could not find the target. The ball was still in play, and recycled into the box, dropping to Lucy Dalgarno. She had a shot, which was caught well by the Rayleigh keeper. With 2 minutes to go, Chelmsford were keeping up the possession and still playing well. Another chance came as Helen Adler put the ball into the box, seeing Abi Hopkins’ shot blocked and behind for a corner. The corner was put in and brought no danger but was the final action as the referee blew the whistle. Chelmsford took the 1-0 win, in a good performance against a well-drilled Rayleigh side.
FULL TIME: CCFC WOMEN 1-0 RTFC WOMEN
This is how the Clarets Women lined up:
1.Hannah Streetley (GK), 2.Holly Richards, 4.Brogan Lambert, 6.Jamie Newstead, 7.Rosie Coe (C), 8.Helen Alder, 11.Mia Brisley, 14.Ellie Dopson, 16.Charlotte Palmer, 18.Kaci Crook, 19.Abi Hopkins
On the bench:
5.Lucy Dalgarno, 12.Ashleigh Holland, 15.Emma Rushen, 17.Ellie Lowe
Goals for the Clarets Women:
1-0 Kaci Crook 29’ (A: Ellie Dopson)
Substitutions for the Clarets Women:
46’ Ashleigh Holland on for Charlotte Palmer
46’ Emma Rushen on for Helen Adler
57’ Ellie Lowe on for Abi Hopkins
69’ Lucy Dalgarno on for Jamie Newstead
79’ Helen Adler on for Emma Rushen
90’ Abi Hopkins on for Kaci Crook
Words By Josh Lowe