Report and Photo from John Coxon
Chelmsford remain in the EHL Premiership following a nerve jangling 2-2 draw in their second day play-off match against the gallant twelve players of Sunderland at Chelmer Park , winning 5-3 on aggregate after victory in their first game on Saturday 3-1.
In Saturday's game it was Chelmsford 's Chloe Rogers (pictured) who broke the deadlock putting the Beehive Lane Ladies in front after eight minutes in open play followed, in the16th minute, by Hayley Heggie deflecting from a short corner. Sunderland absorbed the constant pressure helped by some great keeping from Jo Spotswood until, on 32 minutes, Lynn Bollington neatly deflected a long ball over her and she was unable to prevent the ball trickling over the line. Sunderland pressed much harder in the second half and in the 50th minute Louise Gordon found the net to get one back. Sunderland continued to work hard but were unable to capitalise from two shorts towards the end of the game.
In Sunday's match Sunderland tried to stage a fight back with some end to end stuff in the first half with both Jo Spotswood and Chelmsford's Katy Roberts testedin goal. It was Chloe Rogers who was first to score having been fouled in the D and putting away the penalty flick on 27 minutes. Early in the second half Kirsty Smith finished off a short corner scoring Chelmsford's second. But plucky Sunderland fought back with Susan Hamilton making it 2-1 on 41 minutes from a short and then again 8 minutes later to level the match. With the heart break of a disallowed goal later in the match Sunderland were beaten and Chelmsford thankful to be secure for another season in the premiership.
For Chelmsford's Lynn Bollington, who scored here on Saturday, the previous weekend's crunch relegation match against Poynton should have been her last as she had announced her intention to retire from the game after an astonishing 32 years of playing for the same club. It was salutary to hear that her decision to retire was based on time and commitment and "the mental side if things" and not on the physical demands of playing at the highest level since, at 47, in club fitness tests this season , she was usually been in the top two or three.