After a successful August, Chelmsford City move into the second month of the season with a tough home encounter against also unbeaten Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday 3rd September (3pm kickoff)
City have had an unbeaten start to the season with 4 wins and 2 draws and have been a threat going forward as well as solid at the back, having conceded just 3 goals in their opening 6 games, with 3 clean sheets and with opposition today Havant & Waterlooville sitting 1 place above City in 2nd it should be a cracker.
Havant are in their 4th season back in the National League South after a period between 2015 and 2019 when they were in a different division every year after winning back-to-back promotions but then being relegated straight back in 2019. Havant had a disappointing season last year missing out on the playoffs on the final day when they surprisingly lost at home to Chippenham which meant they finished 8th. This season however looks to be a better one for the Hawks. Havant are on a 4 game winning run and have only dropped points on one occasion in their opening 6 fixtures. However, that was on a trip to Essex as they drew 1-1 at Cressing Road against Braintree. Goalscoring has been a strength for the Hawks this year with 14 goals in 6 games so far, at the back they could be vulnerable as they have only kept 1 clean sheet but that was in their last fixture on Bank Holiday Monday when they beat Farnborough 1-0.
In terms of players, manager Paul Doswell has kept a similar squad to last year bu they have added some real experience and quality. The keeper is former Claret Ross Worner who is now in his 4th season as the number 1 at Havant & Waterlooville. At the back they have brought in central defender Joash Nembhard who impressed at Hemel Hempstead last season. Alongside him they have experienced centre-half and club captain Joe Oastler who has just signed a new deal to keep him at the club until 2024. In midfield they still have the classy Billy Clifford and they have added former Chelmsford City winger Giovanni Crichlow who had an impressive season last year with Braintree. Jake McCarthy is a dangerous player in midfield as he has already 4 goals this season and netted a hat-trick in last season’s game between the two sides at Melbourne, which prompted Paul Doswell to liken him to Frank Lampard. Up front is where the Hawks look really strong as they have brought in 3 strikers. Firstly Jason Prior returns to the club after a few years firing Dorking to promotion. They have brought in Mo Faal from Enfield, who scored 35 league goals last season in the Isthmian Premier Division. Finally they have brought in 37 year old Danny Wright who has been a regular scorer in the National League with spells at Wrexham, Cheltenham, Cambridge United and Torquay.
Player-coach Jamie Collins said after the win against Farnborough on Monday, “To get 6 points out of the bank holiday weekend is what we wanted but I thought it was 2 tired teams out there. We’ve been desperate for a clean sheet and I think the back four have deserved one. We always know we can score goals so if we start keeping clean sheets we won’t be far away. With Roberts, Crichlow and Mo Faal fighting for the wide positions and Prior and Danny Wright up front it’s a frightening propostion. To play all these games in a short period of time and come away with all these points, it’s all credit to the players. We need a rest this week but back in Thursday and Friday and hopefully get the victory Saturday.”
City have not had the best time of late against the Hawks with City losing the last 3 meetings. City lost both games last season by a single goal. At Melbourne City lost 3-2 with Simeon Jackson scoring the first and the last goal with Havant’s Jake McCarthy scoring a hat-trick in between. At Westleigh Park, the game ended in a 2-1 defeat for City with Tom Blackwell netting Chelmsford’s goal. The last man to score a winning goal for the Clarets against Havant is City manager Robbie Simpson who scored in the 90th minute to win an FA Trophy tie back in December 2019. For the last league win for the Clarets over the Hawks you have to go back to April 2016 when Reece Prestedge scored the only goal in a 1-0 away win, a result which had a big bearing on Havant’s relegation from the National League South that season. City haven’t beaten Havant at home in a league match for over 10 years, back in February 2012. Justin Miller, Ricky Modeste and Cliff Akurang scored for City in a 3-1 win, Scott Jones got the 90th minute consolation for Havant.
City had to reshuffle their team over the bank-holiday weeked. Cameron James and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb were both injured but Henry Ochieng stepped in brilliantly at right back so could deputise again. Ovie Ejeheri could be fit but Jacob Marsden played impressively over the bank holiday so Robbie Simpson has a choice to make in goal. Khale Da Costa has also missed the last 4 games. Callum Jones is set for a long spell on the sidelines with a fractured ankle. Jamie Yila who made his Clarets debut on Monday as a late substitute played 60 minutes for the reserves so he is ready for a comeback to first team action.
Havant have striker Jason Prior returning from suspension after he was sent off against Braintree. According to Havant’s website, Josh Passley and Oscar Gobern are struggling with knocks and Paul Rooney was substituted on Monday following a heavy challenge so could miss out.
Tickets are now available to be purchased in advance of the 3:00pm kick-off on Saturday and can be bought by clicking this link.
Adult – £13
Senior (65+) – £9
Concession – £9
Full-Time Student – £5
Youth (12-17) – £5
Under-12s – Free
Entry can also be purchased at the turnstiles on the day at the Melbourne Community Stadium.
Ticket prices on the day:
Adult – £15
Senior (65+) – £10
Concession – £10
Full-Time Student – £5
Youth (12-17) – £5
Under-12s – Free
The bar will be open from 12.30pm with Everton v Liverpool being shown.
A programme will be available to purchase on the day for £3 or a digital subscription to The Claret can be purchased here.
Where to follow the game…
The Club will be only providing limited coverage of the game on Twitter (@OfficialClarets) using the hashtag #TheClarets.
There will also be live audio commentary from Radio Clarets.
Post-match reports and interviews will be found on the club website, social media and ClaretsTV following the game.
Academy in action in Chelmsford City double-header
At 7.45pm on Saturday, Chelmsford City Academy are also at home against London Lions in the FA Youth Cup so please stick around for that game although gates will shut at 6pm after the Havant match and you will need to buy a ticket to re-enter for the Youth Cup match.