It was an Easter Monday defeat last time out for the Clarets on the visit to Oxford. Focusing on the other end of the table, Hungerford Town visit the Melbourne Community Stadium, with both sides having different aspirations come the end of the season. The Clarets aiming for the playoffs whilst the Crusaders aim to retain their National League South status. A fast start in the first half saw the Clarets 2 goal up after 20 minutes, with the tempo not dropping. A few minutes before the break, it was 3 and a deserving, emphatic lead. The second half brought a slow start for the Clarets, conceding within the first 10 but they soon righted their wrongs with 2 quickfire goals. A strong performance brought 5 goals and a solid 3 points.
There was a few changes to Robbie’s side, after the Easter weekend double header. With Adebola Oluwo missing out on Monday, he was fit to return today as he was back into the backline. As well as him, Tom Blackwell and Callum Jones both returned to the starting side. They both featured at home to Farnborough, in the 3-2 win, but made appearances from the bench away to Oxford. Missing out was Ody Alfa, after he sustained a minor injury in Monday’s fixture, which was enough to sideline him for today. After both starting on Monday, Simeon Jackson and Giovanni McGregor both dropped to the bench. Alongside Giovanni and Simeon, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Harry Lodovica and James Blanchfield made up the 5 on Robbie’s bench.
In sunny Essex, the visitors got the game underway. An early chance arose for Chelmsford, after Tom Blackwell smartly won a free kick on the edge of the area. Blackwell and Brookes were over it, with the latter taking aim but firing his effort over the bar. It was joy for the Clarets no longer than 2 minutes later, as Cameron James bundled in a Tyreke Johnson cross. Some good work by Tom Blackwell allowed Arjanit Krasniqi to find Tyreke who delivered well to find Cameron at the back post, who beat Tom Blackwell to it to give the Clarets an early lead. The fast start continued, with a corner won and a chance to infiltrate the Hungerford box. Tom Blackwell delivered, and it bounced first before Cameron James went on the hunt for his second, but got underneath the ball and more so flicked his header over the bar. After some great work offensively, the Clarets back line were tested. Jake Evans looked to have sight of goal, before captain Dave Winfield stepped in with a beautifully executed sliding tackle to deny him any chance. His next was not on par, with this time the tackle on Great Evans giving away a foul. It was the 2 outfield Evans over the free kick, with Jake stepping up and forcing a save out of Eddie Beach, giving Hungerford a corner. Delivered in, it was returned to sender before the next ball found an offside Crusader. After Great Evans was booked, the Clarets came forward. The attack down the left brought a good crossing opportunity. Tyreke delivered, and the cross held up in the air, with Cameron James once again being on the end of it. Unlike the opening goal, he was the provider this time. He headed directly into Tom Blackwell’s feet who, with 2 touches, turned and fired past Max Evans to double the Clarets’ lead. Some good quick feet from Tom and quick thinking from Cameron, doubled the lead.
With Cameron notching up a goal and assist, Blackwell looked to do the same. His through ball allowed Tyreke Johnson to get in behind. Firstly, Callum Jones found Tom, who span and saw Tyreke Johnson is aces of space, playing him through. Then, Tyreke cut inside and took on 3 players. He set
himself for a shot, where Max Evans was up to the challenge to save the shot, but only parry. Blackwell followed up on the rebound, only to see a Hungerford defender put in a good block. It was one sided football as a Ben Brookes corner brought trouble. Callum Jones challenged the keeper fairly and gave Michael Folivi what seemed to be an open goal, before Hungerford could recover and throw a few men in-between Michael and the goal. He tried to set up Blackwell, but Tom was closed down immediately. The next chance did see Folivi set up Blackwell. Michael got through a few defenders, on the byline and pulled back to Tom. His first effort went nowhere, with a Hungerford defender on hand to blocked straight away. Falling to the ground, Tom was still able to hook the ball goalwards, seeing his effort bounce back off the post and Hungerford were able to clear. The visitors came straight up the other end, winning a free kick. Once again, Jake Evans stepped up, and was able to hit the target. It was rather a comfortable save, straight at Eddie who punched clear to set the Clarets away. The attempted counter was soon thwarted, after Blackwell was swarmed by numerous neon green shirts. After conceding in the sun, Hungerford thought they would weather the storm, as the rain started to come crashing down. Folivi was their danger next as he cleverly got himself a chance and won a corner. Ben Brookes whipped it in, with Dave Winfield rising highest and heading almost into the net. The final Hungerford defender was on hand to head off the line, and deny Winfield his second home goal, in as many games.
With just 2 minutes to go in the half, it was 2 for Tom. Once again, there was excellent work by Michael Folivi. His effort from close range was saved, allowing him to poke the ball across the goal to the waiting Blackwell. Tom was cool, calm and composed in finding the top corner to make it 3-0 to the Clarets. With the rain all of a sudden picking up, the players and supporters were rejoiced to see just a single minute added on. The injury time possession was all Chelmsford’s, but they could not muster anything up, seeing Harry Wager bring the half to a close at 3-0.
HALF TIME: CCFC 3-0 HTFC
After a tussle with Great Evans in the first half, Ben Brookes came off at half time and was replaced with Jazzi Barnum-Bobb. He was on, and the second half kicked off. There was an early scare for Hungerford, with Tyreke Johnson seemingly playing a perfect over the top ball to Michael Folivi, to send him 1 on 1 with Max Evans. The linesman’s flag was swiftly raised, and the few travelling Hungerford fans breathed a sigh of relief. They had to once again just minutes later, as Cameron James nearly got his second. Unintentionally, he looped his cross straight under the crossbar and almost in before Max Evans outstretched arm saw him tip it behind for a corner. The corner was taken short and brought nothing dangerous. With the sights set on scoring more, the clean sheet bonus was out of the window. Joe Boachie, former Braintree striker, picked the ball up and span past Jazzi Barnum-Bobb before sending his effort curling into the far corner. It would be a long way back for the Crusaders, but they had themselves on the scoresheet. With their tails up, they looked to come forward again. This time, the possession was overturned and the Clarets could come forward. The ball was fed into Michael Folivi who just about retained the ball. Turning and driving forward, he laid the ball into the path of Tyreke Johnson who let the ball run across him and smashed home. A great goal by the Clarets and a great reply.
Less than 2 minutes, it was another in the back of the Hungerford net. A quick, short corner saw Tom Blackwell in space to deliver. It was another deep cross and Cameron James had the chance to head across goal again. He did just that and got himself his second assist of the game as Callum Jones was on hand to turn home from close range. It was the same tail as the away game, where Callum Jones scored from a second ball at a set piece. Having already had 2, Tom Blackwell was close to the match ball. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb got great space and pulled the ball across the create danger. A Hungerford defender flicked it backwards and Blackwell, first time sent his effort just over the bar. Despite not
having much to do, Eddie Beach was still up to the task of producing a fantastic save. A long range effort was fired at him, with a great fingertip save needed to divert the effort just over the bar. With the tempo dropping, and neither side looking too threatening, the visitors saw a gap and a chance to get forward. Cameron James was more than up to the task, as when the ball was set to Joel Rollinson, he threw himself across to make a vital block. Once again, James was producing a vital block. A deep ball was headed up by him but only to the feet of Jake Evans. Cameron strung to his feet and blocked to turn behind for a corner. It was well defended by the Clarets as we entered the final 10 minutes. After Eddie Beach had been down, he looked to be called into action. Dan Roberts was played through, with Adebola Oluwo being on hand to shut him down. Roberts still got the space, but was only able t fire into orbit, well wide of the goal.
With just minutes to go, Eddie was called into action. Jake Evans fed the ball to Dan Roberts who drove into the box and played it back to Evans. It was low and hard from Evans, but Beach was down to make a great save, much to the appreciation of the Claret fans. From this, the Clarets went up the pother end and it was Max Evans getting down low to save. The ball was played to James Blanchfield on the edge of the box, where he aimed to find the bottom corner but Evans tipped round the post excellently. With the game dying out, 3 were added on with both sides seemingly settled with the scoreline. After 5 great goals, Robbie’s men got back to winning ways and secured an excellent 3 points at home to Hungerford.
FULL TIME: CCFC 5-1 HTFC
Beach (GK), James, Trotter (Blanchfield 64’), Winfield (C), Oluwo, Johnson, Folivi, Blackwell, C.Jones (McGregor 81’), Brookes (Barnum-Bobb 46’), Krasniqi
Unused subs: Lodovica, Jackson
Goals: James 4’, Blackwell 19’, 43’, Johnson 58’, Jones 60’,
Cautions: Krasniqi 27’, Winfield 37’,
M.Evans (GK), McGrory, Angell, Gunner (Fernandes 59’), J.Evans, Boachie (Roberts 81’), G.Evans, Berry-Hargreaves, Tyler (C), Gyebi, R.Jones (Rollinson 69’)
Unused subs: Lopes, Bailey
Goals: Boachie 53’,
Cautions: G.Evans 17’, McGrory 39’,
Words By Josh Lowe