Still missing Tyrone Miller from the line up; Streatham started the game with the same team that lost to bottom side Solent & Gosport Devils less than a week earlier.
Streatham came out hard at the start of the game as they looked to gain a physical advantage on the slick quick skating Chieftains. This up and at them style of play soon brought trouble as Russ Stevens skated hard towards Ross Brears down the right hand side of the rink and appeared to make contact leg to leg, with Brears limping off the ice.
Referee Iain Hayden then stunned the home bench and crowd by awarding Stevens a 5 plus game penalty for tripping with only three minutes gone.
There were nervous faces all round from Streatham as they faced the prospect of playing five minutes shorthanded against some of the best forwards in the league. That trepidation appeared to be justified as less than a minute later Danny Hammond fed the puck back to Clarke on the point and he fired his slapshot past Will Sanderson in the Streatham net.
Chelmsford pressured again from the following face off but switched off at the back as a long pass from Dom Hopkins found Jakub Klima all alone on the Chieftains blue line and he skated in on Ben Clements before rounding the Chelmsford stopper and tapping the puck into the net.
The joyous Redskins fans were soon brought back down to earth with a bump as Hammond found Julius Sinkovic in the slot and the Chieftains sniper showed great composure before firing an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the Redskins net.
Chelmsford continued to make their man advantage count as they made it 3-1 just a minute later as the Redskins prospects of gaining anything from the game appeared to be diminishing quickly. This time it was Darren Brown the scorer as he converted another Hammond pass from close range.
Streatham finally got to a 5 on 5 situation and began to carve out opportunities of their own with Joe Allen unlucky with one effort that clipped the top of Clements stick and then Adam Mahoney’s slapshot rebounding out to Chris Rasmussen who could just not do enough to get the puck into the net.
Chelmsford continued to look dangerous going forward and it was perhaps no surprise when Hammond built up a head of steam down the left wing and skated hard round the back of the Redskins defence before shooting the puck into the bottom corner of the net.
At 4-1 down the Redskins were at risk of capitulating but they finally got the break they deserved as the industrious Allen worked hard in the corner to get the puck out to Tait on the point, and the Streatham defenceman fired his slapshot through a crowd of players and into the bottom of Clements’s net.
The second period was pretty even for the opening few minutes but then a slashing call each on Streatham’s David Carr and Chelmsford’s Cameron Bartlett put both sides down to four skaters each and Streatham suddenly clicked into gear.
The extra space proved to be beneficial for Streatham and in particular Klima who began to show his class against his former club, as he played a lovely one two with Joe Johnston before firing high into the net.
Streatham were level fifteen seconds later, still on a 4 on 4, as Allen played an almost identical pass to Tait as he had for the second goal and Tait again drilled his slap shot past Clements before celebrating arms aloft.
Incredibly Streatham took the lead a minute later, albeit in controversial fashion. Klima was once again the man of the moment as he cut past two Chieftains defensemen in the corner before fooling everyone, including Clements with a shot from an unlikely angle that appeared to hit some part of the goal and bounce back out into play.
With Klima and Johnston celebrating in front of the Streatham fans Hayden initially pointed for a goal and then after consulting with the goal judge awarded it much to the fury of the Chieftains players who were adamant that the goal should not have stood.
With Streatham protecting a fragile one goal lead against arguably the most potent team in the league, it was no surprise that the home side and fans were rightly nervous as they skated out for the third period.
Rather than sit back and attempt to soak up the pressure from the Essex side, Streatham continued to exert pressure and both Johnston and Hopkins went close as the Chieftains uncharacteristically nervous defence coughed up the puck on numerous occasions.
Despite this, Chelmsford still looked dangerous in attack as Clarke and James Ayling both had to be denied by the excellent Sanderson in the Redskins goal whose confidence was growing with every save he made.
With twelve minutes remaining in the game the Redskins were undone on the powerplay as Chelmsford finally got reward for their pressure with Hammond again the architect, teeing up Tibor Schneider on the point and he beat the unlucky Sanderson with his effort to tie the game again.
Despite this seemingly incessant pressure on their goal Streatham held firm and the Chieftains frustration kept building with Sinkovic in particular cutting an agitated figure up front.
The game needed some composure and with the stage set for a hero, up stepped the Czech hat trick hero Jakub Klima to take the spotlight as he jinked past a ragged Chieftains shorthanded unit before deceiving Clements with a deke and literally passing the puck into net before celebrating wildly in front of a shocked yet happy Redskins support.
The final eight minutes were not the backs to the wall scenario that many would have forecast in this kind of situation as Streatham Coach Warren Rost called a time out to settle his troops and despite a couple of scares that were dealt with by man of the match Sanderson, Streatham eased out with a famous home win and two valuable points.
Photos by Rick Webb