JASON Hallett’s double helped City race into a four-goal lead after just 25 minutes at Melbourne as their season exploded into life, but they were forced to hold on at the conclusion as Bath netted three replies, leaving Clarets Head Coach Glenn Pennyfather to reflect: “A win’s a win!”

The Chelmsford striker was joined on the score sheet by Danny Hockton and Anthony Cook in a sensational opening spell as the hosts ripped into a desperate visiting defence.

But Richard Evans netted twice before half-time and substitute colleague Mike Perrott added a third 10 minutes from time to ensure the hosts were forced to remain alert right to the final whistle to earn their three points.

After the game, Pennyfather was able to look back on the afternoon’s fare with a hint of relief and he was delighted to have secured his first victory since taking the overall First Team rains from Jeff King. He said: “I told the players I wanted to play entertaining football, but not quite that way! We had three or four other great chances when we were already comfortable and it could really have been an avalanche.”

Chelmsford were without injury victim Ollie Berquez, suspended captain Dave Rainford plus Ashley Harrison and Steve Ward who were unavailable and, in the local press leading up to the game, Glenn highlighted the need for the supporters to be patient with his revised squad.

However, they needed to wait just 10 minutes before Hockton scored his first league goal since returning to the club.

A Danny Bunce free-kick from the right wing dropped into the six-yard box and, when Hallett’s initial stab was just partly dealt with by nervy goalkeeper Willem Puddy, Hockton was on-hand to finish.

Before the home fans could gather their collective breath, City moved two in front in the 14th minute. There seemed to be little trouble for the Bath defence to deal with until Hallett, from a tight angle on the right, squeezed a flying drive over the head of Puddy, under the crossbar and into the far corner. Hallett was again the hero five minutes later as he got on the end of a deep cross into a crowded area to head home. “Today we saw a glimpse of what the real, hungry Jason Hallett can do,” summarised Pennyfather.

Still searching for more goals, the Clarets saw newcomer John Martin combine well with Jamie Hand on the edge of the area for the latter to whistle inches over the bar shortly afterwards.

But they went one better on 25 minutes when a ragged Bath defence failed to deal with a delivery into the danger area and, at the second attempt, Cook was able to find the back of the net to seal a perfect start.

If there was to be a turning point in the game it could have been the 31st minute. Moments earlier there was brief panic in the City box which saw John Martin clear to safety as Holloway tried in vain to wrestle with an opponent for the ball.

Then, following a handball in the Bath area, Hockton saw his penalty-kick well saved by Puddy, who partly atoned for his earlier fatal errors.

Two minutes later, the fight-back began.

Centre-half Ben Martin and Holloway lacked communication as they attempted to bring a routine through ball under control, leading to Martin heading goalbound and past his own ‘keeper.

Simon Glover showed sufficient pace to recover the situation and clear off the goal line but Sekani Simpson quickly delivered the ball straight back into the box and Evans helped it home from a yard.

In the immediate aftermath, Martin’s collision with his team-mate resulted in a stretcher removing him from the field with a torn groin, meaning Ryan Carolan came on in the heart of defence.

But Chelmsford quickly sought to return to form and Bunce, in space on the left, hammered the ball across the face of goal, only the width of the crossbar preventing Hallett from completing his hat-trick.

Within seconds of half-time the visitors notched what proved to be an important goal, but in controversial circumstances.

Holloway came out to meet Marcus Browning on the edge of the goal area to compete for a high ball and, when both went to ground, Referee Andrew Parker adjudged the custodian to have committed a foul.

This resulted in the penalty which Evans swept coolly into the bottom left-hand corner. Glenn claimed: “The referee seemed to be the only person in the ground who thought it was a penalty.”

After the interval the match was poised in a fashion where the next goal could prove to be crucial. Following a half-time re-group, Pennyfather’s Chelmsford were determined to register theirs to put the game back to bed and, around the hour mark, Hallett chested the ball down to Cook whose lob from distance was deflected over the bar.

That was as close as City came, however, as Bath made it a nervy finish for them.

Fifteen minutes remained when appropriately-named visiting forward Mark Badman hindered his side’s cause by picking-up a second booking which saw him dismissed from the field early.

However, this set-back caused Bath to double their efforts and when a tempting cross was placed into the Chelmsford goalmouth, Perrott jumped highest to angle a header into the net and re-ignite the contest.

Bath went on to cause their shocked opponents concern during a tense six minutes of injury time, but ultimately Chelmsford were victorious, leaving Glenn to add: “The second half was never going to be like the first. Bath were at their best with ten men when they threw players forward and ours thought they could spray the ball about and stretch them but it doesn’t work like that.

"The players were disappointed to have conceded three but overall I’ve grown in confidence about the squad we’ve assembled here and we will now strive for consistency.”