Chelmsford City look to continue their 3 game unbeaten run in the National League South when they take on table-toppers Ebbsfleet United on Saturday 25th February, 3pm kickoff.

The opposition

Ebbsfleet United sit in 1st place after 33 games in the National League South this season. They have won 24, drawn 4 and lost 5, scoring 78 goals and conceding 34 in the league campaign so far which all adds up to 76 league points so far. Ebbsfleet had a stunning start to the season, going until November 12th until they lost a game, losing 2-1 at home to Tonbridge Angels. Including that defeat they then lost 7 of their next 11 games. In their last 11 league games they have taken 31 points to put themselves into a league-winning position.

In terms of players, Ebbsfleet have the experienced keeper Mark Cousins in between the sticks. Cousins was famously in goal for Colchester United when Chelmsford beat them in the FA Cup in 2012. As well as playing for the U’s, Cousins, now 36, appeared for Dagenham & Redbridge, Barnet and Bromley, before signing for the Fleet in the summer.

In defence, they have experienced former Charlton defender Chris Solly, as well as ex-Notts County & Chesterfield centre-back Haydn Hollis. They also have former Wycombe and Cheltenham defender Sido Jombati.  

In midfield, they have former Aldershot midfielder Toby Edser, who signed last summer and can add goals from the centre of the pitch. They also have former Dulwich midfielder Ben Chapman, who is a key component of Ebbsfleet’s style of play. They have also recently added former Havant schemer Billy Clifford in midfield. In wide areas, they have former Gillingham and Billericay winger Greg Cundle as well as speedy former Kidderminster winger Omari Sterling-James, who was man of the match when the sides met back in January.

Up front, they have the prolific strike force of Dominic Poleon and Rakish Bingham who have 41 league goals between them so far. Poleon, the former Leeds, Wimbledon and Crawley striker, has 26 of them, making him the league’s Golden Boot so far. Bingham, the former Hamilton and Hartlepool striker has the other 15, and he scored against the Clarets back in January.

The manager in the Ebbsfleet dugout is Dennis Kutrieb. A rarity in non-league football, with him being a foreign manager, the German managed VSG Altglienicke and Tebe Berlin in his homeland and is now in his 3rd season with the Fleet, having led them to the playoff final last season, where they narrowly lost out to eventual winners Dorking Wanderers in extra time.

Previous Meetings

City lost 2-0 in Kent against the Fleet in January, although the Clarets produced a solid performance and could have equalised Rakish Bingham’s first-half strike but right-back Luke O’Neill scored 3 minutes from time to seal the deal. This stretched City’s winless run against the men from Kent to 5 games home and away, although last year’s match at Melbourne was a creditable 0-0 draw, with Jacob Marsden saving a late Poleon penalty.

The last time City beat Ebbsfleet was back in September 2016, a 2-1 success at Melbourne for the Clarets. Billy Bricknell, who played for both clubs, gave City the lead after half an hour, with current Crawley man Jack Powell equalising just before the break. However, Bagasan Graham, who also appeared for both, scored the winner with 7 minutes remaining. Current Chelmsford captain Dave Winfield played the 90 for Ebbsfleet that day, with current Fleet striker Darren McQueen making a late sub appearance.

Team News

Former Ebbsfleet striker Reece Grant serves the second of his three game ban so will miss the match. Ody Alfa, Ernaldo Krasniqi and Harry Lodovica have knocks that will need to be assessed before the game. Kai Yearn recovered from injury to score and play in Cambridge United’s FA Youth Cup Quarter Final defeat at Arsenal so could be back with the Chelmsford City squad for the match.

Ticket News

Tickets are available on line at a discounted advance price to buy here 

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

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 providing 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.

It is set to be a chilly afternoon with 7 degrees expected during the game, with cloud overhead and possible outbreaks of sun.

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