Full time: Dover Athletic 1-0 Chelmsford City

Chelmsford City walked away emptyhanded from their Easter Monday trip to Dover Athletic, with Henry Young’s early first half goal proving to be difference-maker between the sides.

Young put the hosts ahead in the 16th minute when he guided an effort past Henry Gray from close range. City struggled to fire shots towards Dover keeper Matthew Rowley’s goal in the first half of proceedings in Kent but got nearer to scoring in the second forty-five.

Charlie Ruff, Anthony Wordsworth and Luke Jenkins all came close to bringing the Clarets level late on in the game, but agonisingly, neither of the trio were able to convert their chances into goals.

Robbie Simpson made six changes to the starting eleven which beat Dartford last time out on Good Friday. Anthony Wordsworth and Henry Ochieng replaced Finley Barbrook and Callum Watts in midfield. Further forward, Ody Alfa, Samir Carruthers and Louis Dunne took the places of Josh Castiglione, Charlie Ruff, and Jermaine Francis. George Alexander dropped to the bench as well, making way for Freddie Hockey to start.

It was Hockey who helped City nearly make a perfect start to the game when he picked out the run of Henry Ochieng in the 10th minute. After holding the ball up well on the left flank, Hockey played the ball inside to Ochieng, who drove towards goal and unleashed a shot from inside the penalty area. Dover goalkeeper Rowley came off his goal line quickly though, and was able to make a save which prevented the midfielder from scoring his first league goal of the season.

Instead, it was the hosts whose afternoon started the game perfectly when Henry Young put Dover in front in the 16th minute. Luke Baptiste delivered a low cross which ricocheted off the defending Ben Brookes and then into the path of Young, who slotted the ball past Henry Gray from close range.

The Clarets struggled to find a foothold in the first half once they went behind. However, City also weren’t helped by the decisions of referee Harrison Blair, who was happy to break the game up by awarding a plethora of soft fouls against both teams throughout the game in Kent.

In the second half, both managers were left frustrated that their sides didn’t convert glaring opportunities from corners. Dover substitute Kai Garrett’s accurate delivery found the head of Charlie Naylor, but the defender’s free header was too close to City goalkeeper Gray who impressively tipped this effort over the crossbar.

Late on in the second half, City troubled their hosts in the final third. Charlie Ruff came close to equalising in the 79th minute when he volleyed Ody Alfa’s pass towards goal, but the Clarets’ top goal scorer was denied by the fingertips of Rowley who tipped this shot behind for a corner.

From the resulting corner taken by Ben Brookes, Anthony Wordsworth made himself the latest City player to test Rowley when he headed the full back’s delivery on target. Frustratingly for Wordsworth, his effort fell straight into the grateful hands of though.

Moments later, Rowley remained rooted to his goal line when Luke Jenkins connected with another corner taken by Brookes. Fortunately for the Dover shot-stopper though, he was able to watch Jenkins’ header go over the crossbar by a matter of inches.

Despite falling to a frustrating defeat in Kent, City remain in control of their own destiny, with a 2nd place finish in the National League South still guaranteed if the Clarets win all three of their remaining games. Simpson’s side return to action on Saturday when Slough Town visit Melbourne Community Stadium.

Dover Athletic XI:  Rowley (GK); Charles-Cook, Mensah ©, Holding, Oyenuga, Naylor, Young (Wilkinson 90+4’), Oliver, Baptiste, Nikaj (Dembele 85’), Akehurst (Garrett 67’).

Unused substitutes: Stewart, Drakes-Thomas.

Yellow cards: Young.

Chelmsford City XI: Gray (GK); Barnum-Bobb, Jenkins, Winfield © (Alexander 54’), Brookes; Ochieng, Wordsworth, Dunne (Ruff 66’); Alfa, Carruthers (Francis 54’); Hockey.

Unused substitutes: Castiglione, Watts.

Yellow cards: Winfield, Jenkins, Francis.

Match Officials: Harrison Blair (Referee), David Spain (Assistant), Michael Butcher (Assistant).

Attendance: 628

Report by Jake Dixon

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