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Chelmsford City 4 Dorchester 0
1:30pm Tuesday 29th January 2013 in News
CHELMSFORD City are desperate for more games to build continued momentum according to Manager Glenn Pennyfather, who was ecstatic to see his players recover from a long weekend journey to rattle in four goals against Dorchester Town at Melbourne, including a 30-yarder from new signing Omer Riza.
Anthony Cook, Kyle Vassell and Justin Miller also converted as the Clarets boosted morale with a dominant display against the Dorset outfit, gaining revenge for a single-goal defeat in the reverse fixture in September.
Former Arsenal striker Riza, who'd completed his move across the Blue Square Bet South from Boreham Wood just hours earlier, scored City's second as they put themselves three-up by the interval.
Jamie Slabber was sent off for City mid-way through the second half, but Glenn knew his team had that kind of performance inside them ready to come out: "I'm really pleased with what we're building - but it's just a start. We're hungry for more success and more games of football so we can bang more points on the board.
"This was a performance not only of quality, but also with hard work, and that was the most important thing."
He was enthused that his side didn't shirk the challenge of exceptionally windy conditions, with gusts of up to 26mph swirling round the stadium, adding: "It was a strong, difficult wind to play with - probably more difficult with it than against it.
"There does come a time, with the velocity of the wind, that it just becomes too much and you can't get the ball under control. But we were excellent from start to finish and we went about our business properly."
Three changes were made to the side which defeated Truro City away from home two days earlier, with Miller coming in at right-back in place of Bradley Hamilton. David Bridges returned in place of David Rainford for his first league start in around three months after injury, while newcomer Riza was preferred to Donovan Simmonds in an attacking role.
City were quick out of the blocks, taking the lead inside the 1st minute. Riza lurked with the ball in close proximity then it rolled to Cook ten yards from goal and he stroked low into the corner past goalkeeper Alan Walker-Harris.
The same combination could have doubled that advantage five minutes later, Riza flying into a challenge with the 'keeper on the edge of the box and, when the loose ball dropped to Cook, he couldn't control his first-time volley.
There was plenty of intent from the hosts in the early stages - Slabber seeing a shot blocked while Miller got a hefty boot and a strong breeze behind his long-ranger as it whistled inches over.
Dorchester's own first effort, however, didn't arrive until the 22nd minute when Charlie Clough struck wide along the ground through a crowd of legs. This was followed by his header onto the near post as he got on the end of a right-wing cross.
Riza then chose the 28th minute as the moment to signal his goalscoring arrival to the club, and in some style. Most players would have selected a pass if they'd have been that far from goal, but you don't gain Champions League experience without having extreme confidence and Riza nonchalantly heaved the ball straight into the top corner.
"It was fantastic," reflected his manager. "Omer's a good player who's got a great pedigree.
"He's had a great career and I'm delighted to have signed him. I thought he was good in the two games he played against us for Boreham Wood and I think it's very much our gain. I'm delighted with his performance tonight and he'll prove to be an invaluable signing for us."
Moments after the half hour point he could have quickly added to his tally as he raced onto a loose backpass and volleyed high over the bar. Visitors Dorchester didn't learn their lesson, however, following suit with another awful ball back to Walker-Harris on 33 minutes.
This time they were punished as Vassell was alert to read the play, dribble round the advancing custodian and tap gleefully into an empty net.
Not content with only three goals to show for their first-half showing, City pressed again and full-back Miller robbed a defender of possession on the right before cutting inside and curling low at Walker-Harris from ten yards. At the other end before half time, striker Ben Watson nipped in from the right flank but he selected the height option and shot over.
So often a period of such activity results in calm after the interval, yet there was plenty of threat still to come. Aiden Palmer rode several 50th-minute challenges as he progressed down the left and his eventual delivery into the danger zone seemed to travel in slow motion, as did the attempted, unsuccessful half-volley from Vassell.
There was also work for Clarets' goalkeeper Stuart Searle to do as his palms were warmed by a Mark Jermyn bullet.
Bridges found the overworked Walker-Harris equal to his strike when play opened up for him on 56 minutes, the Magpies' gloveman pushing his strike wide for a corner.
From that flag kick, Palmer hit the crossbar, and Chelmsford went close again through Riza, who received the ball six yards from goal but somehow blazed narrowly over the bar.
If Town were to trouble the scorers it looked likely that Clough would be their man but, when he did get a sight of goal in the 66th minute, he was thwarted by the body of Kenny Clark at full speed just after he pulled trigger.
City's boss enjoys seeing his team keep clean sheets, and he was buoyed by their refusal to concede when the game was already won. But he was less impressed to witness top scorer Slabber's dismissal with 67 minutes played.
He reacted angrily to a challenge in front of the dugouts, and Referee Neil Hair was quick to reach for the red card. Pennyfather claimed: "We can have no arguments with that at all. The red mist has come down unfortunately and it's unlike Jamie, so the lad must have done something to him because Jamie very, very rarely loses his composure."
That gave Dorchester cause to push forward more, and Searle had to take a safety first approach to guide Clough's 71st-minute lob over his crossbar.
But the Clarets were still in charge, and when they forced a corner four minutes later they proved it. Palmer's swinging, left-sided centre drifted to Miller at the far post and he headed home off the underside of the bar.
Searle had a large part to play in the ultimate shutout of City's opposition - making "great saves at crucial times" according to his boss - and one example was exhibited two minutes from time.
There was also a great deal of talent on Pennyfather's bench and substitute Simmonds almost grabbed a fifth with seconds left, receiving Cook's ball inside from the left on the break and prodding onto the foot of the near post.
It would have added further sheen to an already fantastic evening, which dispelled any worries Glenn harboured after such a draining weekend. He explained: "We had to recover quickly, and the lads have looked after themselves to put in a great performance tonight.
"David [Rainford] and myself were concerned about this weekend, purely because it's a twelve-hour round trip to Truro and we didn't get back until 1:00am on Sunday.
"Your body clock naturally gets you up at your normal time and you don't really start to feel tired until the following day - then we're back playing again.
"It was a concern but the fitness levels of the players are excellent. I was delighted with our overall graft, and we had the quality to go with it. I thought we executed our game plan very, very well. There's a great belief and desire coursing through the players at the moment."