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Chelmsford City 2 Boreham Wood 1
10:33am Monday 31st December 2012 in Local Sport
ANTHONY Cook and home debutant Kyle Vassell staged their own Goal of the Season competition at Melbourne Stadium as Chelmsford City came from behind against Boreham Wood to claim the three welcome league points which saw them jump up a place to sixth in the Blue Square Bet South.
Omer Riza had put the visitors in front with a 55th-minute tap-in but Cook's acrobatic finish eight minutes later, followed by a sumptuous Vassell drive from outside the box eleven minutes from time, secured victory.
Manager Glenn Pennyfather hailed the goals from his wide men, and praised his team for remaining focussed during their spell with no games.
"Considering the amount of time we've been unable to play it's a fantastic result against one of our rivals," he reacted.
"We came in at 0-0 at half time in poor conditions and I said that we'd have to battle for everything - and that's what we did. I knew it would take one bit of quality to win the football match, but in the end it needed two."
Newly-signed Vassell emerged from the bench for his first appearance in front of the Clarets' home fans, and he needed only eleven minutes to make his name, Glenn adding: "I'm absolutely delighted for him, and that'll settle him down here. Players do tend to come here and feel at home quickly, so that'll be a huge buzz for him."
"You're hoping when you make the changes that it's going to spark something, sometimes more by luck that design. But we know he's a young lad with fantastic potential and two great feet.
"He's still learning, and he's only been with us a short while, but you can see from flashes today that he has super ability. Hopefully there's more of those to come from him."
Perhaps it was a sign of how long it had been since Chelmsford had played that the only change from the last match was the addition of Donovan Simmonds out wide for Rob Edmans, who had returned to Dagenham & Redbridge following his loan some time before.
But it was a City old boy who nearly struck first, Cliff Akurang cutting inside from the left and shooting low towards the near post, where Clarets goalkeeper Stuart Searle gathered.
That was on 20 minutes then, five minutes later, Cook's corner found Max Cornhill at the near post and he glanced across the face of the visitors' goal and wide. Until then the heavy rain which had caused doubts over the game taking place had largely stayed away, but it did build towards a 35th-minute crescendo, quickly followed by an excellent Searle save.
Neither side had taken a hold of the fixture in the first half, but they had an opportunity apiece just prior to the interval.
Firstly, Chelmsford left-back Aiden Palmer ventured forward to 30 yards from goal and fired narrowly wide, then Akurang competed for the ball and struck down the throat of Searle from an acute angle.
David Rainford headed over from a flag kick to mark the first opening of the second half but it was Boreham Wood who seized the initiative.
A loose ball in midfield was collected by the away side who progressed to the edge of the box. Akurang's initial effort crashed against the underside of the crossbar and Riza was on hand to find the back of the empty net.
The Clarets were quick to respond, and it took just eight minutes for Cook's strike to light up the stadium.
Justin Miller launched a long throw into the box which was competed for in the air, but Cook was waiting underneath and he adjusted his body to send a bicycle kick from around the penalty spot into the top corner, past the helpless goalkeeper James Russell.
His own free kick almost set-up David Rainford for a second on 70 minutes but the full-stretch Clarets skipper's prod flew towards the other side of the goalmouth.
Another goal was imminent, although it was out of the blue in it's nature as a tidy interchange with right-back Richard Brindley gave Vassell the opportunity to dribble forward and produce a fine strike from distance into the top corner. Again, Russell had no chance.
Further excellent chances presented themselves to Boreham Wood which they wasted, and there was also a double effort from Mauro Volhete in the 86th minute as his first was arrowed and blocked from 15 yards then his follow-up squirmed wide of the near post.
Searle was also called into brave action, and Jamie Slabber nearly capped the victory at the other end six minutes into injury time, but Chelmsford had already done enough.