3 games into the season, the Clarets welcomed Jamie Collins’ Havant & Waterlooville to Essex. With contrasting starts to the season, the Clarets have had duo of wins and a draw, compared to the Hawk’s trio of losses. A first half penalty miss, with a few half chances was ended with a wondergoal to break the deadlock. The second 45 brought chances for either side, but a red card and late finish saw the sides share the points.

After some midweek rotation, Robbie opted to bring captain Dave Winfield back into the side, to join Luke Jenkins and Frankie Terry. In midfield Dabre, after a man of the match performance in the week, was joined by Ebuzoeme, Carruthers and Ruff. Out wide, Mills and Francis were on the flanks, with Callum Jones leading the line. Amongst the substitutes, Callum Watts was inline to make a possible competitive debut for the club. He was joined by Tuesday’s match winner Josh Castiglione, Ben Brookes, Mo Bettamer and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb. However, a late team change saw Josh drop off the bench as Freddie Hockey was added amongst the substitutes.


It was former Hawk Charlie Ruff who kicked the game off, with the sun glaring over Essex despite a fierce wind whipping around the Melbourne Community Stadium. The Clarets look to test the conditions early on, with the wind gusting across the pitch bringing an extra element of uncertainty. Havant were looking to end a barren run of 1 win in 19 games and get their season off to a start finally. They got a chance to start well early on, as a 4th minute corner was won. The delivery was cleared but only to the edge of the box, where James Roberts struck but a tame effort was rather easily saved and held by Josh Oluwayemi. The Hawks went forward again but were thwarted by Eze who gave away a foul and entered the book very early on, in the 5th minute. Deacon pulled his free kick short, and Roberts was once again having a shot from the edge of the box, where Dabre threw himself in to make a strong block. The resulting corner was dealt with by the Clarets’ back line and they looked to try and build themself into the game.

The Clarets were finally able to get themselves up the field as Mills was fed in by Ruff. Oastler was across to send it out for a throw in, where Terry sent Mills in. A great ball across caused panic, as Havant could only fire it out for a corner. Carruthers delivered but Winfield, who rose highest, was adjudged to have fouled as he climbed above his opponent. After a Havant corner, Kai Innocent managed to send the ball back from the halfway line, over Worner and out for a corner. It was once again Carruthers to Winfield, but Dave’s header could only hit the side netting, fooling some of the Clarets fans in the main stand who were disappointed to realise there was no goal.

Just after the Clarets’ assistant manager, Micky Spillane, was booked,  more controversy came. Roarie Deacon shoved Dave Winfield as he challenged for the ball and Jack Bloxham pointed to the spot. It was a rather soft penalty which was showed as the Havant players protested. It was Samir Carruthers who stepped up to the spot. It was a great, powerful strike, but Ross Worner was across and managed to make a great save before a corner came the way of the Clarets. After missing the penalty, Carruthers delivered the set piece towards Winfield, but too deep. Almost 10 minutes later, Worner was called into action again. Jermain Francis used excellent skill to beat his mman as he found space to cross for Adam Mills. A low diving header brought a great save from Worner before Callum Jones looked to poke the ball goalwards, but could only send it just wide of Worner’s goal.

With just 5 to go, Oluwayemi was almost caught out. Tom Blair darted out wide, dragging Frankie Terry with him. It was an off balanced cross which turned into shot as Oluwayemi was forced to scramble across. He did so and managed to claw the ball away from entering his goal. It dropped to Mo Faal almost immediately, but his effort was well blocked as Dave Winfield, Clarets’ skipper, was able to throw himself infront of it. The Clarets then looked to provide a surprise of their own. A quick free kick saw Ruff latch onto the ball but, he was only able to send his effort wide of the post, from an awkward angle. A surprisingly low 4 minutes were added on, with the referee and his whistle being the most dominant throughout the first half.

Halfway through the allocated added time and the visitors took the lead, superbly. Tom Blair lumped the ball over the top and Mo Faal chased. In a foot race with Dave Winfield, he excellently hit an early, first time effort with the outside of his right boot. Stranded, Josh Oluwayemi watched on as it flew up and over him and into the back of the net as the Gambian forward opened his account for the 23/24 season. After netting 22 last season, he had his first of the campaign. With all 4 minutes up, the Clarets got themselves a late free kick after some neat work by Frankie Terry. Dabre was fouled and it was Ruff and Mills over the free kick. Ruff took charge but it was no danger to the goal, sailing high and wide. Jamie Collins was the happier of the 2 managers as the Hawks went into the break leading the game.


Taking the lead late on in the first half, Havant then kicked off the second half, looking to secure their first points of the season. It was the Clarets who started brightly, with Charlie Ruff bringing the ball down out of nothing. With 3 Havant players around him, he slipped it to Jermaine Francis who dragged it across the box where no-one was able to send it goalwards. The good start continued as Ruff was at the heart of it again. Ruff fed Mo Dabre through who. alone with Samir Carruthers, was 2 on 1 with the back-tracking Havant defender. Joe Oastler, Havant captain, slide from behind, brining him down and giving away a free kick in a dangerous area. Ben Brookes, who had only just come on, struck the effort but could only see his deflected effort dribbled through to Worner. He palmed away and Ruff pounced on the loose ball, from an offside position.

The Clarets were continuing to play their football, battling against both Havant and the wind. Brookes was able to deliver crosses and corners, but to no avail. A half much like the first, neither side were able to get many real chances. The Clarets were trying to turn the screw, with the Hawks very much staying in their shell and willing to defend. Robbie Simpson looked to continue this, taking Mo Dabre off from midfield and introducing the other Mo, Bettamer. He joined Jones up front, as the Clarets were looking to pile on the pressure. Jones then worked excellently, able to win a corner. Then, a short corner to him saw a chance to drive a ball across the box. Jones did just that, seeing the ball flick up to Jermaine Francis for a golden chance. Francis wound up for the volley, striking well but, somehow, it was the wrong side of the post and the Clarets remained goalless.

With just 15 minutes on the clock, there was another massive decision in the game. Callum Jones was fouled by Brendan Willson who was already on a booking. Then, he decided to stand in front of the ball, where Ruff’s effort was blocked. Jack Bloxham then brandished a red card after a second yellow for Willson. It is unconfirmed whether the second card was for the foul or the attempt to slow the game, but he was off for an early bath. The resulting free kick was almost turned into an own goal, with a corner coming for the Clarets. The delivery was dealt with by Havant and cleared well but, the Clarets recycled. Carruthers picked it up and a brilliant reverse pass put Jermaine Francis in. His effort drew another great save from Ross Worner, but he could not hold. Ruff smashed the ball at goal, seeing it fall kindly. Mo Bettamer, who had been on for 10 minutes, had the simple task of tapping into an empty net and levelling for the Clarets. The Libyan international scored his first goal for the Clarets, after coming from the bench again.

With less than 10 to go, the Clarets were looking to use the extra man to their advantage as they raced forward. A great through ball saw Bettamer one on one with the keeper. He kept his cool and had put the ball in the back of the net, however the linesman’s flag was swiftly raised but, the Clarets were not going to stop there. They were flooding forward, but Havant were able to get forward on the counter. Winfield gave away a free kick, 25 yards out where James Roberts stood over it. In the 90th minute, Roberts had a great chance to be the hero. His effort was deflected by the wall and before the Clarets could look to get up the field. Carruthers picked it up, but was fouled. After that, Callum Watts was given his competitive debut, replace Eze with the 90 minutes up. Following Watts’ introduction, 8 minutes were added on for the Clarets to search for another late winner.

The first chance of injury time nearly fell to Francis who was supposedly taken down but the referee waved away any chance of a second penalty, seeing Jermaine return to his feet. Robbie’s men were relentless with Carruthers sinking a ball deep into the box where Ruff rose but headed wide. Some good work saw Ruff find Bettamer who played it back to Brookes and won the set piece. He was to deliver where Dave Winfield rose highest and won. Ross Worner claimed and held the ball well, looking to run the clock down as much as he could for the 10 men. It was attack after attack for Chelmsford going forward, with 18-year-old Max Connolly turning behind for another corner. Blair headed away and Brookes was able to deliver again. Connolly won the header, and the Hawks would regain possession with an offside given against the Clarets.

As we entered the final added minute, Havant looked to take it to the corner but could not keep the ball. City went forward but ultimately, Havant did well to defend as the 10 men were able to take themselves a point on the road. They secured their first point of the season but continued their run of 20 games with just a single win. An entertaining game for the neutral saw the Clarets maintain their unbeaten start to the season – the only National League South side to do so.


Chelmsford City:

Oluwayemi (GK), Winfield (C), Ebuzoeme (Watts 90’), Dabre (Bettamer 69’), Carruthers, Mills (Brookes 50’), Jenkins, Jones, Ruff, Terry, Francis

Unused subs: Barnum-Bobb, Hockey

Goal: Bettamer 80’

Cautions: Ebuzoeme 5’, Spillane (Assistant Manager) 22’, Winfield 89’

Havant & Waterlooville:

Worner (GK), Innocent, Oastler (C), Janneh, Faal (Connolly 86’), Willson, Jewitt-White, Blair, Deacon, Roberts, Baker

Unused subs: Berry (GK), Kealy, Busari, Woolston

Goal: Faal 45+2’

Cautions: Deacon 20’, Willson 43’, Faal 45+5’, Oastler 50’, Blair 54’, Baird (Assistant Manager) 79’

Red card: Willson 77’

Words By Josh Lowe

Cover image by Roger Robinson Photography

Attendance: 760

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