The must-win game for Chelmsford ended in the desired outcome for the visitors as they came back from a goal down to ruin the Fleet’s chances of an early confirmation of a play-off place.
In unseasonally warm temperatures for April, the Fleet fans turned up in expectation of something to cheer with a win enough to guarantee a place in next month’s play-offs. Liam Daish stuck to his tried and testing starting XI while the visitors were without talismanic skipper Dave Rainford.
Fleet got going quickly and were the first to have sight of goal, Ricky Shakes with his back to play laying off the ball into Michael West’s path but the bounce was unkind and West hit his shot into the ground when well-placed. At the other end, former Fleet loanee Adam Tann headed a corner just past the post. And Calum Willock was unfortunate to be denied as he burst through after a wonderful clearance upfield from Ashley Carew but two Chelmsford defenders were enough to put him off. Craig Stone also contributed to the chances with a dipping shot from 25 yards that just cleared the crossbar.
Fleet led in the 17th minute, however, when Tom Phipp rose highest to thunder a header home from Clint Easton’s long-range free-kick. And for a spell the Fleet had their tails up with Carew and Ram Marwa momentarily bossing the midfield. But back came Chelmsford as the powerful Wayne Gray began to assert himself up front to trouble Paul Lorraine and Easton.
And in the 28th minute, the visitors were back in it. Ricky Modeste got away from Derek Duncan down the right and crossed low into the box from where Lorraine could only half clear the danger. It went as far as Rob Edmans who had a little time to pick a spot before smashing a shot past Preston Edwards.
From that point, Chelmsford looked the more likely to score as Gray, Modeste and Edmans tested the Fleet back line. By now Modeste seemed to have got the measure of Duncan and he was launching a steady supply of balls for the front two to feed on. Fleet couldn’t seem to get a passing game together or gather breath and were glad the half-time whistle did it for them while the score was still 1-1.
It didn’t stay that way for long. Seven minutes into the second half, Takumi Ake’s corner to the far post found