For the second week in a row, the Clarets had a Saturday-Monday set of fixtures, as it was Hemel Hempstead who were welcomed to Essex. With an unbeaten run still intact, Robbie’s men will be hopeful that they can take advantage of Hemel’s poor form. However, it was not to be as there was an upset caused, courtesy of 2 penalties.
With a tough schedule, there were more changes to the Chelmsford side. At the back, Frankie Terry returned from his suspension to join captain Dave Winfield and Luke Jenkins. Anthony Wordsworth made way in midfield, as Mo Dabre was promoted from the bench. Jermaine Francis was missing from the starting side with Callum Jones also dropping to the bench. Barnum-Bobb was missing too, following his substitution in the 23rd minute against Yeovil. Freddie Hockey, Mo Bettamer and Callum Watts were into the side from the start. The bench was strong, with Ben Brookes, Anthony Wordsworth, Adam Mills and Callum Jones all starters on Saturday. As well as that, there was a return for Josh Castiglione, who after being withdrawn from the bench against Havant & Waterlooville, returned to a starting squad.
The Clarets got the game underway, with the floodlights glaring as the night dawned on Essex. Starting slow, the combination of Mos saw the Clarets unlock Hemel’s defence. Dabre was then set free by Carruthers, who was facing his former side, and attempted to find Bettamer with a low cross, only to see a good clearance. It was Hemel who came incredibly close with a well-executed counterattack. Joe Iaciofano was set clean through, as the Clarets defence had lost concentration. Racing through against Oluwayemi, he looked set to hit the target before the Clarets’ captain stepped in. An outstanding sliding block from Dave Winfield denied a great chance, as Hemel won a corner. It was swung in, but swiftly cleared well by the Chelmsford defenders.
Having had to defend set pieces, the Clarets’ forward play won them a corner, with Ruff challenging to make the error. It was their dead ball specialist Samir Carruthers who delivered, seeing Jenkins rise highest. Luke Jenkins’ effort crashed back off a defending Hemel player, springing up and giving him a second bite of the cherry. This time however, it was an easy catch for Craig King. Halfway through the half, there was a major incident. Kyle Ajayi sent a looping ball back to his keeper, looking to bounce over King. Dean Skipper blew his whistle, giving the indirect free kick as King made a defensive calamity. Carruthers was over the ball and laid it back to Bettamer. Mo smashed it at goal, with a deflection from a Hemel man taking it behind for a corner. Once again, it was Samir over the dead ball. However, once again, the Clarets failed to capitalise from the delivery, as it was cleared by Hemel striker Joe Iaciofano.
With neither side really able to create anything clear cut, it was Mo Dabre who was shining. On the counter, he drove straight through the Hemel side, utilising his pace and nimbleness. Josh Hill was the man to stop him, as he dangled a leg and brought down the Clarets’ number 7, brandishing a shooting opportunity from a free kick. Carruthers stepped up, with Bettamer moving away. His effort was over the wall, but over the bar unfortunately and to no danger for Craig King. Minutes ticked away, as 4 were added on and brought a great chance. It was a driving run from Frankie Terry who neatly found Mo Dabre to his left. Daber then gave it to Bettamer who saw his effort only hit Carruthers. However, it came back and out to the edge of the box, with Callum Watts then striking excellently. Craig King scrambled across his goal line, diving down to his left and denying Watts his first Chelmsford goal.
HALF TIME: CCFC 0-0 HHFC
Following a goalless first half, either side would want to break the deadlock, as they both came out knowing there was work to do in the upcoming second half. The Clarets started the brightest, with Luke Jenkins advancing to play a smart give and on, winning a corner. Carruthers was the artist, however, the canvas was ruined by Craig King, who caught and held well.
With less than 10 minutes played, the deadlock was finally broken at the Melbourne Community Stadium. It was Samir Carruthers who made the goal, with some great play. Joe Re was backed into his corner and threw himself to the floor under pressure, with referee Dean Skipper not being fooled. It was Carruthers 1 on 1 with Craig King, as he looked to strike against his former side. However, he laid it off to Charlie Ruff, who was cool, calm and composed as he smashed it into the back on the net, to grab his second goal of the season. The Clarets were up for it now, getting a hold of the game by the scruff of the neck and getting even further forward now. Dabre was the magician once again, as he danced his way through even more defenders, winning another free kick. Once again, it was delivered by Carruthers, as he looked towards Charlie Ruff. Ruff’s flick was wayward, and caused no danger.
With an hour gone, both sides made changes upfront. Finlay Corrigan was off for Hemel, as former Braintree man Alfie Matthews made his way on. The Clarets change saw the booked Bettamer off, as Callum Jones entered the field. Before any chances could be created, another substitute came as the assister Samir Carruthers came off, to see Ben Brookes come on. But the substitutes brought Hemel into the game, as their confidence grew. It was Williams to Williams, as Josh then gave Alfie Matthews the chance to deliver. His low cross was cleared by Frankie Terry; however, Terry was left down after the interception. He was soon replaced, as Josh Castiglione came onto the field to face his former side. It was almost Hemel’s former Claret who hit the back of the net, as Arjanit Krasniqi got a golden opportunity. Kyle Ajayi’s looping header was not cleared efficiently by the Claret defenders, dropping to the Kosovan. Krasniqi hit it from 5 yards out, seeing Josh Oluwayemi save at close range, before Jenkins cleared nay further danger.
With just 15 to go, referee Dean Skipper had a huge decision to make, as he pointed to the penalty spot. Joe Iaciofano ran off Dave Winfield, who tugged slightly at his man, and was brought down for the spot kick. Winfield survived a second booking, before Iaciofano tucked the penalty away, levelling the scores. He sent Josh Oluwayemi the wrong way, as the Tudors got themselves right back into the game, and on level pegging. After riding the storm, the Clarets got themselves a chance, with a Ben Brookes corner. An enticing delivery brought a header from Dave Winfield, which looped up and over the bar. The pressure was mounting, as this time Callum Jones won a corner as the hunt for their second goal continued. Luke Jenkins was the target and Luke Jenkins was the winner as he headed down, but straight into a Hemel defender, as an astute block prevented the games third goal.
The game ticked into the 8 added minutes as, with the game still level, it could go either way. Chelmsford were under pressure, with Josh Williams launching the ball into the box with his long throw. Chaos ensued, with Luke Jenkins clearing off the line, before another penalty awarded. Charlie Ruff attempted to clear and brought down Kyle Ajayi, as he threw himself to the floor. Iaciofano stepped up and surely won the game for the Tudors, sending Josh Oluwaeymi the wrong way. A late corner for the Clarets brought some hope, as all but Oluwaymei were deep in Hemel’s half. Somehow, the brilliant delivery was flicked over the bar from 6 yards out, as Hemel survived a massive scare. Despite just 8 being added, a total of 11 added minutes were played as Chelmsford fell to a disappointing defeat for the first time this season.
FULL TIME: CCFC 1-2 HHFC
Oluwayemi (GK), Winfield (C), Ebuzoeme, Dabre, Bettamer (Jones 60’), Carruthers (Brookes 63’), Jenkins, Ruff, Terry (Castiglione 71’), Hockey, Watts
Unused subs: Wordsworth, Mills
Goal: Ruff 53’
Assist: Carruthers 53’
Cautions: Carruthers 43’, Bettamer 46’, Winfield 75’, Brookes 90+2’, Castiglione 90+4’, Oluwayemi 90+5’
Red card: Oluwayemi (Upon conclusion of the game)
King (GK), J.Williams, Ajayi, Hill (C), G.Williams (McKenzie 89’), Iaciofano, Re (Sayoud 86’), Corrigan (Matthews 60’), Newton, Judd, Krasniqi
Unused subs: Gonzalez, Taylor
Goals: Iaciofano 77’ (PEN), 90+6’ (PEN)
Cautions: King 26’, Re 26’, Hill 33’, Ajayi 90+6’
Words By Josh Lowe
Cover image by Roger Robinson Photography