After progressing into the next round of the FA Cup, the Clarets returned to league action, for the visit of St Albans City FC. A tough fixture in the past had come round again, for the first time since the playoff disappointment. It was a tough one to take, as the sides battled it out. In the end, clinical finishing won the game, as the Clarets fell short. Shaun Jeffers was the difference, as the former Claret came back to haunt the Melbourne Stadium, once again.
The first of a few changes saw Josh Oluwayemi return between the sticks, with Marsden having played both FA Cup ties during the duration of Oluwayemi’s suspension. In midfield, Anthony Wordsworth came in, as he replaced Eze Ebuzoueme. Adam Mills was replaced by Mo Dabre, which saw Josh Castiglione, making his first home league start, play from the left. On the right, Jermaine Franics started once again, replacing Jazzi Barnum-Bobb. The 2 other changes saw Samir Carruthers and Charlie Ruff replace Freddie Hockey and Callum Watts, changes which were made during the game on Monday. On the bench was Eze Ebuzoueme, Mo Bettamer, Adam Mills as well as Jazzi Barnum-Bobb and Freddie Hockey.
It was the visitors who got themselves an earlier chance, as former Claret Shaun Jeffers raced through. Sam Brown’s long ball was latched onto, with Luke Jenkins backtracking against the striker. The Clarets survived an early scare, as Jenkins was able to win that battle, with Oluwayemi claiming the ball. Jeffers was clearly the threat, with Jenkins nearly inviting him in just a few minutes later. Looking to leave the ball to his keeper, Josh Oluwayemi, he almost saw Jeffers pinch the ball, before Oluwayemi was able to get in first, claiming the ball.
Weathering the early storm, the Clarets attacked, and won a corner. The referee was given a decision to make, as Ben Brookes’ delivery was cleared, but Anthony Wordsworth bundled to the floor. Any shouts of a penalty were waved away, as play continued. However, being in the game now the Clarets came forward confidently. Mo Dabre, who was running through on the left, was bundled down, gifting Chelmsford a good crossing opportunity from a free kick. On second attempt, a great ball was played in and Luke Jenkins was highest. His effort skimmed over the crossbar, inches away before the raising of the linesman’s flag brought St Albans a free kick.
St Albans had turned to weather the storm, much like they’d caused in the early stages. However, they looked to be deadly on the counterattack. Number 9 Shaun Jeffers was played through, as the Saints swiftly went from defence to attack. He raced through, one-on-one with Josh Oluwayemi, looking to find the back of the net. St Albans’ bagsman, to many people’s surprises, rolled his effort wide of the goal, despite most backing him to score. The Clarets had got away with one, which they wouldn’t do minutes later. Ryan Blackman caused the danger, as he arrowed an effort at goal from range. His effort stung the palms of Josh Oluwayemi, who was unable to hold the fierce effort. Jeffers was waiting, like the great poacher he is, and fired the visitors onto the lead.
A late first half corner looked to cause danger, as Samir Carruthers trooped across to take. He delivered, towards the front post, seeing Dan Bowry rise and flick it clear. The brought an end to the action, as the Clarets trailed at half time.
HALF TIME: CCFC 0-1 SACFC
A quick start came for Robbie’s men, as some clever thinking from Samir Carruthers put Charlie Ruff in. It was a clipped free kick where the Chelmsford man evaded the offside trap and was able to turn an effort goalwards. Ruff looks on, as his shot just about dribbled wide of the post. From then on, it seemed to be almost for the Clarets. Ruff thought he had another great chance to score, not long after as he looked to strike. However, the linesman came to St Alban’s rescue, stopping any goal threat.
However, the Clarets nearly created their own downfall. Dave Winfield gave the ball away at the back, sparking a great chance for the visitors. It was squared across the box, leaving Jeffers the seemingly easy task of finishing, before an immaculate tackle from out of nowhere by Luke Jenkins stopped the chance. Jeffers was still hungry for more, as a similar chance fell minutes later. Mitchell Weiss dragged the ball across the box, finding Jeffers. It was struck well, into the top corner as Shaun Jeffers wheeled away to celebrate his second of the game.
A throw of the dice from Robbie came minutes later, as a treble substitution came. Eze Ebuzoeme, Mo Bettamer and Freddie Hockey were the 3 who came on, in the places of Anthony Wordsworth, Charlie Ruff and Josh Castiglione. St Albans were able to ride the wave, as the defended the Chelmsford attacks well. Dave Winfield looked to create a chance, as he was found from a free kick. His header was back across the box, but Saints keeper Michael Johnson was able to claim well.
With neither side looking all too threatening, and just 3 minutes added on, the time soon dwindled away, and the Saints heard the whistle to take all 3 points home.
FULL TIME: CCFC 0-2 SACFC
Oluwayemi (GK), Brookes, Wordsworth, Winfield (C), Dabre, Jenkins, Jones, Francis, Ruff, Castiglione
Unused subs: Mills, Barnum-Bobb
Cautions: Dabre 61’
St Albans City:
Johnson (GK), James (Lawal 29’), Brown (Bowry 20’), Smith, Clark, Blackman (C), Jeffers, Weiss, Georgiou, Fage (Akanbi 79’), Carlyle
Unused subs: Dunn, Morrall
Goals: Jeffers 38’, 67’
Cautions: Clark 47’, Jeffers 53’, Lawal 78’
Words By Josh Lowe
Cover image by Roger Robinson Photography