Crusaders undone by Whelpdale double
By Ciaran Morrison
A Chris Whelpdale double contributed to a fortunate win against a battling Crusaders side
Hungerford fans braved the cold, adverse weather but Chelmsford showed the ruthlessness that the visitors lacked in front of goal to come away with a fortunate three points. The visitors were more than a match for their hosts who had the lion share of possession but failed to do much with it despite scoring 4 goals. Whelpdale missed an early half chance and Ekpiteta had to block a Thomas Wraight shot as the hosts did make a brighter start. Hungerford grew into the game and Cameron Hargreaves missed a big chance. The on loan Bristol Rovers midfielder ran through on goal but dragged his shot wide of the post after two defenders recovered to stop his momentum. They were made to pay when Whelpdale headed home rising above left back Dan Bailey after 20 minutes. The Crusaders kept on going and Darren Foxley's strike hit the bar rebounding into the path of Rhys Kavanagh but his header also hit the woodwork. Chelmsford made them pay again converting a second. Baileys poor touch was pounced upon by Whelpdale who emphatically volleyed home into the top corner. It gave the hosts renewed confidence to start playing however Michael Luyambula was untested in goal but would have conceded for the third time if Rhys Murphy's clever dink hadn't been ruled out for offside.
It was a mountain to climb after half time but Ian Herring didn't make any panic substitutions sticking with his starting eleven for the second half. The manager, and supporters, were to be rewarded with a deserved goal. The Clarets were caught out on the counter after Josh Martins excellent long ball found Kavanagh. The striker came inside and despite the chance looking gone his shot deflected in over a stranded Nathan McDonald. With still 40 minutes to play it was plenty of time to score another. Kavanagh looked to be getting that goal after a disguised free kick fell into the goal scorers path but he dragged his shot wide. There was nervousness around Melbourne Park but Hungerford failed to apply sustained pressure on an open home defence despite playing good football up until the final ball let them down. Two goals in the final five minutes for Chelmsford put an undeserved gloss on the score line for the Essex based side. Murphy curled in his 20th goal of the season before a Wraight shot hit the post but bounced back in off the unfortunate Luyambula. It was a missed opportunity to get at least a point on the board and with many games postponed including games for Weston, Gloucester and East Thurrock. It means Hungerford could find themselves bottom of the table if they don't start winning games and next weekend we entertain St Albans at Bulpit Lane. Before that we play a friendly at lower league Wootton bassett on Tuesday night.