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Essex rout as Magpies grounded
CHELMSFORD CITY 4
Cook 1, Riza 29, Vassell 34, Miller 76
DORCHESTER TOWN 0
A LONG trek back from Essex would have been the last thing the Magpies needed after slumping to a fourth 4-0 drubbing of the season.
A disastrous first half, during which Dorchester conceded three times, did for the visitors last night as they came unstuck at Melbourne Stadium.
Having had the comfort of home advantage in their last six Blue Square Bet South fixtures, the Magpies’ first league game away from the Avenue since mid-Nov-ember was never going to be easy against a side chasing promotion and trying to break into the top four.
And so it proved as Dorchester, who won the reverse fixture 1-0 back in September, were undone by the hosts’ clinical finishing in front of goal, which all but sewed up the three points by half-time.
That is not to say the Magpies didn’t have opportunities of their own though and on another day it could well have been a lot closer.
After making his first-team debut on Saturday, Dan Way was left out of the squad altogether with Jake Smeeton returning from suspension to start at left-back and Neil Martin moving into midfield.
There were places on the bench for Antony Carlile and Lewis Morgan, back in the squad after a long spell on the sidelines with a groin injury, while Ray Spear and Dan Peart dropped out.
But all of the Magpies’ best intentions were undone within the opening 60 seconds when Clarets’ midfielder Anthony Cook fired past Alan Walker-Harris to give the hosts the lead.
Playing against the elements wasn’t helping Dorchester either but after going behind so early the visitors steadied the ship and got back into the game in the first 20 minutes.
Charlie Clough had their first effort on goal which went wide then the striker was unlucky to see his header come back off an upright. A good five-minute spell was just what the Magpies needed at that point – then it all went wrong.
New Clarets’ signing Omer Riza, formerly with Arsenal in his younger days, got his stay at Chelmsford off to the perfect start as he tucked the ball into the back of the net to double the Essex club’s lead on 29 minutes.
Already facing a huge uphill struggle, the Magpies’ night went from bad to worse when Kyle Vassell slotted a cool finish beyond Walker-Harris on 34 minutes to give the Clarets a 3-0 advantage.
As ever, Dorchester’s Ben Watson was working his socks off to get his side going and he fired over the bar at the end of a neat move.
That turned out to be the last action of a terrible first half for Phil Simkin’s men and the boss needed to draw on all his managerial experience during the interval to rally his troops for the second 45 minutes.
Both goalkeepers were called on to make smart saves early in the second half before Martin struck a sweetly-hit shot from all of 25 yards which Stuart Searle gathered.
Walker-Harris needed to be alert to deny the Clarets a fourth then the home side hit the bar twice in a matter of a few minutes, the first coming direct from a corner and the second courtesy of a Riza blast.
David Bridges picked up the game’s first booking just after the hour mark and a few minutes later Clarets team-mate Jamie Slabber was shown a straight red card for foul play.
Sensing a glimmer of light in their quest to stage a dramatic recovery, Dorchester had some decent chances, which fell to Clough.
One was blocked for a corner just prior to Slabber’s sending off then after it Searle was on his toes to tip Clough’s shot over the bar.
But when it looked like the visitors could snatch a consolation, the Clarets grabbed a fourth 15 minutes from the end when full-back Justin Miller rose highest to head in for 4-0.
The hosts could have made it five near the end only for the post to come to the Magpies’ rescue once again.
Magpies: Walker-Harris, Bell, Smeeton, Pugh, Walker, Jermyn, Crittenden, Nicholls, Watson, Clough, Martin. Subs not used: Malsom, Brooks, Carlile, Morgan, Matthews.
Chelmsford: Searle, Miller, Palmer, Haines, Clark, Vassell, Cook, Bridges, Slabber, Cornhill, Riza. Subs not used: Corcoran, Hamilton, Parker, Simmonds, Welsh Referee: Neil Hair (Peterborough) Attendance: 565