The Clarets face a second Essex derby in succession on Boxing Day as Braintree Town visit the EMG Inspire Stadium.

Robbie Simpson’s side goes into the game having picked up a point in last weekend’s 0-0 draw away to Billericay Town.

The point on the road meant the Clarets have gone unbeaten in two, having beaten Maldon & Tiptree in the BBC Essex Senior Cup in the week prior to the draw with Ricay.

City are also unbeaten in the previous two league outings, with the 1-1 draw away to Tonbridge Angels the Club’s last Vanarama National League South tie before the trip to New Lodge.

The Iron also picked a point up in their last league outing, drawing 2-2 away to Concord Rangers in early December.

Last time Ryan Maxwell’s side played though, the Essex side exited the Buildbase FA Trophy after a defeat to St Albans City on penalties.

Going into the game, the two outfits find themselves at the bottom end of the table, with the Clarets sat 19th, one point ahead of 20th-placed Braintree.

During the Boxing Day clash, supporters have been invited to make donations to both food banks in Chelmsford and Braintree, which you can find out more about here.

The Club will also be supporting Shelter’s #NoHomeKit campaign, which more will follow on on Boxing Day.

Last time out…

Last time out, City were held to a goalless draw at New Lodge despite boasting the best of the chances against Billericay Town.

While the Clarets enjoyed the best of the first-half action, Jack Munns had the first chance, firing just wide on the turn for the hosts.

A couple of chances would then fall for Chelmsford’s Chez Isaac, the first being toe-poked wide before seeing an effort well saved by Rhys Lovett.

The game’s biggest chance came around 10 minutes from the half-time whistle, with Dara Dada firing the ball towards Simeon Jackson before the Canadian turned his man and placed his shot wide of the post while one on one with Lovett.

With the chance spurned, Robbie Simpson’s side was undeterred and began the second half with the same intent as they had ended the first.

A header from Adebola Oluwo dropped wide first, then a good save from Lovett after a Jackson shot looked destined for the far corner and the ‘keeper was again on hand to make a stop later in the half from a dipping and swerving Dada strike from distance.

When the Clarets finally did find the back of the net, an incredibly tight call chalked the goal off as Dave Winfield headed a free-kick across goal for his centre-back partner to finish, only for one of them to be deemed as offside.

With Robbie Simpson’s side unable to make a breakthrough, Billericay forced two late chances which Jacob Marsden was equal to, meaning the spoils were shared.

The opposition…

Over their opening 15 league matches of the season so far, the Iron have won two, drawn five and lost eight in the Vanarama National League South.

Braintree’s points total of 11 has left them three points ahead of Billericay at the foot of the table and one point behind City.

Ryan Maxwell’s side’s first victory in the league came on matchday two, as Town delivered a thumping 3-0 win against Hemel Hempstead Town.

The second three points in the league did not follow until early November though, a 1-0 win against Tonbridge their second league win of the season.

In the cup competitions Town have also struggled, going out of the Emirates FA Cup in the second qualifying round to Billericay and exiting the Buildbase FA Trophy last time out.

In the second round of the competition, Braintree picked up a 3-1 win against Potters Bar Town and went the distance with St Albans in the third round before being knocked out on penalties.

Opposition dangerman…

With four goals in eight outings so far this season, Luke Holness would appear to be the Iron’s dangerman this season, although often from the bench.

The former Fulham and Crystal Palace youngster moved to the Dunmow Group Stadium in November 2020 from Bracknell Town.

Holness joined Braintree with plenty of non-league experience under his belt in a short space of time, having featured for six other outfits.

Alongside Bracknell, the forward also featured for Walton Casuals, Maldon & Tiptree, Sevenoaks, Tooting & Mitcham and Northwood.

While three of Holness’ four goals came in the 3-0 victory against Hemel, the attacker’s hat-trick shows his prowess in front of goal.

The pacey wide man’s other goal in the league this term came in Town’s 2-2 draw with Billericay in August.

Holness has found a place in Braintree’s squad hard to come by of late, but the attacker has proven he could be a threat if involved.

Our last meeting…

Chelmsford City 4-2 Braintree Town, 2nd January 2021

It was another one of the more memorable games of last campaign the last time the Clarets had an Essex derby with Braintree Town.

The visitors to the EMG Inspire Stadium for our first clash of 2021 went two goals up during the first half.

Taofiq Olomowewe struck first in the 18th minute before Tom Derry added the second five minutes from the half-time whistle.

With Robbie Simpson’s side trailing 2-0 at the start of the second half, a 16-minute turnaround starting in the 55th minute flipped the scoreline on its head.

Charlie Sheringham was the first to strike for City, turning a corner in before Tom Wraight hammered a free-kick in from distance to level the scores.

City then went ahead minutes later as Cameron James turned in an Adam Morgan free-kick from near the corner flag.

The scoring was completed by a fourth different Chelmsford scorer in the 71st minute as Morgan dispatched a penalty after Danny Imray was fouled in the box.

Where to follow the game…

The Club will be providing live minute-by-minute coverage of the game on Twitter (@OfficialClarets) using the hashtag #CCFC.

There will also be live audio commentary from Radio Clarets.

Post-match reports, highlights and interviews will be found on the club website, social media and ClaretsTV following the game.

To attend the game, ticket details can be found here.

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