National League South, Melbourne Community Stadium, Monday 1st January 2024, 3pm kick-off.
Chelmsford City will look to start 2024 with a bang as the club looks to complete a league double over Braintree Town for the first time since the 2019-20 season.
With the local bragging rights on the line too, Monday’s game at Melbourne Community Stadium promises to be an exciting one, as City look to extend their four-point advantage over the Iron in the National League South standings, and inflict a third consecutive league defeat on Harrop’s side.
Here’s all that Clarets supporters need to know ahead of the game…
Team & match stats:
· Angelo Harrop’s side have one of the weakest away records in the league this season. The Iron have collected 10 points on the road in 23-24, which is the fifth lowest total in the division for away points won.
· Chelmsford City are unbeaten in their last 11 league fixtures against Braintree.
· Both teams have scored in 7 of the previous 10 National League South meetings between the sides.
· Monday’s visitors are without a clean sheet in their last 10 league games versus the Clarets.
Braintree Town will be looking to exact some revenge on Essex rivals Chelmsford City, after their defeat to City on Tuesday marked the fourth time in the past five seasons that the Iron have conceded at least three goals to the Clarets in a league fixture.
Having recently shipped a trio of goals against Simpson’s side on Tuesday, Angelo Harrop’s team also lost their accolade of possessing the league’s strongest defensive record, with the Clarets taking over that status for now following their three goals and clean sheet in last week’s win at the Rare Breed Meat Co. Stadium.
Braintree have added to their defensive options in recent weeks, and Harrop will hope that his team can record a clean sheet for the first time since completing the signings of Baris Altintop and Lewis Miccio.
Altintop departed the Iron for Dartford during the summer transfer window, but has recently returned to his former club. Altintop has captained the Iron during his two starts since re-signing as a Braintree player, but he has not yet been able to experience a win or a clean sheet since returning to Essex. Braintree’s 3-0 defeat to Chelmsford last week also marked full back Miccio’s first start in an Iron shirt. The Australian will be hoping to beat the Clarets for the second time in his career, after starting for former club Oxford City last season during a 3-1 win against Simpson’s side.
Last week’s Essex derby was the first time in five games that former Claret Tom Blackwell, who joined Braintree in the summer, went without scoring in a National League South fixture between the Clarets and the Iron. The 23-year-old previously had netted in each of his final four league matches against his current club whilst wearing a Claret shirt.
Braintree’s top scorer this season is forward Aaron Blair. Blair scored 11 times for the Iron last campaign and returned to the Rare Breed Meat Co. Stadium at the beginning of this season in another loan transfer from Dagenham and Redbridge. Braintree made Blair’s loan move a permanent transfer in October, and the 23-year-old has repaid Harrop’s faith in him by scoring 7 times across the 18 league appearances he has made so far in 23-24.
A much-changed Clarets side from Tuesday’s Braintree win started in the club’s Tolleshunt D’Arcy Memorial Cup tie on Friday, which saw City run out as 5-3 winners in a penalty shootout versus Saffron Walden Town.
Robbie Simpson will have to decide whether or not Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Ben Brookes, Ody Alfa, and Henry Ochieng, who started against Saffron Walden, will return to the side in the league after being named on the bench away to Braintree last week.
Forward Callum Jones also started against the Bloods and scored twice in normal time, but the fitness of Jones will be assessed ahead of Monday’s match, after he was forced off in the 57th having required treatment after going down with an issue.
Josh Castiglione was forced off against Braintree after requiring treatment during the 3-0 win at the Rare Breed Meat Co. Stadium, meaning the full back’s fitness will also need to be assessed ahead of Monday’s game.
Ticket prices online:
Adult – £14Concession/Senior (65+) – £9 Student (17-24 with valid ID) – £4 Youth (12-17) – £4 Under-12s – Free
Supporters can also buy tickets on the day at the Melbourne Community Stadium. Matchday turnstile prices are as follows:
Adult – £17.00Concession/Senior (65+) – £12.00 Student (17-24 with valid ID) – £6.50 Youth (12-17) – £6.50 Under-12s – Free
How to follow the game:
Radio Clarets will be providing live audio commentary of proceedings at Melbourne Community Stadium.
The game is also being live streamed on National League TV, and supporters who can’t make the game can purchase streaming passes for the game via the National League TV website.
Clarets fans can find pre-match coverage of Monday’s match, and live updates of proceedings on New Year’s Day by following the club’s X (formerly Twitter) page: @OfficialClarets and Instagram page: chelmsfordcityfc.
Post-match reactions will be found on the club’s website, official social media channels and on ClaretsTV.
Words by Jake Dixon.