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Hampton & Richmond 1 Chelmsford City 1
6:11pm Sunday 25th November 2012 in Local Sport
MAX Cornhill's 53rd-minute strike for Chelmsford City was cancelled out by Hampton & Richmond Borough's Charlie Moone ten minutes later at the Beveree, meaning the Ryman League Premier Division title chasers will travel to Essex for a Melbourne replay on Monday to see who makes the FA Trophy Second Round.
In torrential rainy conditions, the Clarets worked hard to gain an advantage against the in-form Beavers, and they moved in front after a flowing move down the right was finished off by midfielder Cornhill.
But Moone's brilliant strike means the two sides lock horns again, and Manager Glenn Pennyfather explained: "They're a confident side. We played the same team last year and won 4-0, which shows what confidence offers you."
"Our goal led a charmed life at times, but we created opportunities as well in difficult conditions - the pitch was very slippery and it was cutting up. I thought we started very well in the first 15 minutes, but then stopped doing those good things and let them into the game. After that it was a lot more even and there could have been more goals."
There was a first start between the sticks for young goalkeeper David Wootton, who replaced his injured counterpart Stuart Searle, and winger Anthony Cook filled in at right-back with Richard Brindley and Justin Miller missing. David Rainford, Cornhill and Rob Edmans also replaced Nicolas Bondon, Adam Tann and Ishmael Welsh.
Chelmsford started well and, in just the 2nd minute, a decent sequence of passes culminated in Jamie Slabber supplying Edmans, who turned quickly and struck narrowly wide from the edge of the area.
A few minutes later at the other end, former Premier League defender Darren Powell brought the first save from Wooton, who dived to his left to make the stop. Hampton also tested him with several corners, but to no avail.
Former Clarets striker Joel Ledgister was lining-up against his former club and his first impact was made in the 19th minute, but he mis-controlled at the crucial moment when located in a good position inside the box.
This was succeeded three minutes later by a spooned effort over the crossbar after his team had counter-attacked down the right-hand side and new team mate James Simmonds set him up with a cross.
Just before the half-hour, Slabber's shot on the turn flew just wide of the Hampton goal, then it was the turn of the two goalkeepers to show their worth moments before the interval.
Wootton made a brilliant save to deny Ledgister after a Mo Harkin delivery - James Simmonds wasting the rebound - then a later City ball in from the right made it's way via a defender to Cornhill, whose shot on target was prevented excellently by Rodney Chiweshe.
The 53rd minute saw City move ahead. Donovan Simmonds progressed down the right and centred for Edmans, who headed down into the path of Sam Corcoran.
His initial effort was blocked but the rebound fell handily for Cornhill, who converted from close range. However, that advantage lasted no more than ten minutes when Moone's excellent finish flew past a helpless Wootton to level the tie up once more.
Hampton enjoyed the ascendancy, no more so than when they smacked the woodwork three times in a matter of seconds straight afterwards. Moone's initial cross swerved and hit one post, then the upright was smacked two more times in the same sequence as Harkin and Joe Turner attempted to get in on the act.
A 71st-minute skewed clearance also rebounded goalwards and a shocked Wootton, who executed a crucial save and collected at the second attempt.
The hosts applied a great deal of pressure towards the end, and looked the most likely winners, but the match ended all square and the two sides will meet again in a replay at Melbourne Stadium on Monday night.
"I'm delighted we're still in the hat," Glenn added, "and we'll now take them on in different conditions to see if we can make it through."