Brian Jeeves reporting from the Melbourne Stadium
CHELMSFORD City manager, Rod Stringer, was far happier with his side’s second-half display as Ryman League Division One North outfit, Heybridge Swifts, were swept aside as the Clarets reached their first Essex Senior Cup final since 2009.
Kane Haysman, Chris Dickson, Max Cornhill and a Philip Anderson own goal ensured City’s progression to the final, but only after the Swifts had doggedly kept the home side at bay during the opening forty-five minutes: “It was a frustrating first half, Stringer said. “Me and Nick Haycock spoke at half-time because that wasn’t like our Chelmsford side. We said that in intensity and quality wasn’t there. To me, that was a little bit disappointing. I don’t think the desire was lacking, just the quality.
“We needed to get the ball wide and win the midfield battle and get the tempo up. We changed the shape and got Kane Haysman and Josh Rees into the game. Once we did that the goals came and it turned into a good night.
“We looked ok in closing that game out in the first half, but after the break, Kane played a bigger part and created a couple of goals for us. I thought we got down the sides well and with the extra man in midfield helped us to create a few chances. Fortunately, unlike Saturday, we really gave it to them and took our opportunities.”
Nevertheless, the Clarets chief was satisfied with the evening’s work, adding: “It was good to give some of the players some valuable minutes. I think we are in a good place because the season is still very much alive. The final gives us a great opportunity to bring some silverware here. But I have just said the players that we still have another fifteen ‘cup finals’ in the National League as we chase our ultimate aim which is promotion.
“Overall it was a good performance. We have done ourselves justice in a cup competition that I wanted to do well in. I’m really pleased that we’ve now been able to give the club’s supporters a final.
“We needed to use something as a starting point. If we could win the Essex Senior Cup, especially with all the other work going on behind the scenes to promote the club, that would lay down a marker and put us in good stead for the future.
Stringer continued: “We can now look forward to Dartford on Saturday. Everyone connected to the club with travel there in a buoyant mood. Hopefully, the supporters can give us a big lift because that is going to be a massive game.”