Chelmsford City didn’t produce their best performance of the season but 3 points is all that matters as they defeated Farnborough 1-0 at Cherrywood Road on Tuesday night. City started the game slowly against their opponents who surprised the Clarets with a change of shape and their pressure culminated in a penalty won when Ade Oluwo was adjudged to have fouled Hisham Kasimu, however the striker had his spot-kick brilliantly saved by Arsenal loanee keeper Ovie Ejeheri. The second half was a more even affair however the home side had the majority of the possession. It was a bit of a smash and grab for Chelmsford when a fine move down the right allowed Jazzi Barnum-Bobb to cross first time for Harry Lodovica to sidefoot home the winner 6 minutes from time.
Robbie Simpson made 4 changes after the long trip down to Taunton on Saturday. Dave Winfield’s knee injury kept him out of the fixture so Jazzi Barnum-Bobb started at right-back and Cameron James reverted to central defence. Former Farnborough midfielder Louis Dunne replaced Henry Ochieng in the central midfield area. Simpson also freshened up both wings as the subs and starters from Saturday were reversed. 17 year old Cambridge United loanee Kai Yearn started his first senior league game instead of Khale Da Costa and Tom Blackwell replaced Jamie Yila. Freddie Hockey made the bench as well after assisting Bowers & Pitsea’s equaliser against Kingstonian on Saturday whilst out on dual-registration.
Farnborough had a notable inclusion in the their team with 35 year old Ricky Holmes starting the game. Holmes last played for City on 1st May 2010 in the playoff semi-final defeat to Bath so it was over 4500 days since Holmes had either played for or against the Clarets. In fact Freddie Hockey and Kai Yearn were just 4 years old the last time Holmes played for City. They also started Jordy Mongoy who Boro had signed on loan from Wealdstone, where he played against City in pre-season.
Farnborough’s first half performance on Saturday produced an apology from their manager so they produced a reaction which resulted in a fine start to the game from the home side. Ovie Ejeheri had already denied Ricky Holmes from range but just after the quarter hour he almost scored the opener. CIty gave the ball in midfield and the ball made it’s way out to Reggie Young who’s cross in found Holmes but Ejeheri made a fine save with his legs.
Then just after the half-hour mark Farnborough missed a great chance to open the scoring. Hisham Kasimu was running with Ade Oluwo in the penalty box and went over and referee Aaron Farmer gave what even home manager Spencer Day called a soft penalty. Kasimu who scored on Saturday against St Albans stepped up from 12 yards but Ejeheri dived full length to his left and tipped it round the post. It was incredibly City’s 3rd penalty save of the season as Ejeheri is now 2-1 down to Jacob Marsden in this little competition! In the aftermath Freddie Grant and Cameron James clashed and on close inspection Grant was lucky to escape a card for violent conduct.
The penalty miss sprung City to life and Cameron James had a shot blocked on the line after Simeon Jackson had a shot deflected for a corner. Then when home central defender Kevin Lokko slipped, Tom Blackwell had a chance to score but he skewed his effort out for a throw-in. Despite this City were lucky to be level at the break. Simpson then had to make a sub at the start of the second half as Cameron James went off injured so Jamie Yila came on to play left wing-back and Eduino Vaz reverted to a left centre-back alongside Ade Oluwo and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb in a 3 at the back formation.
The second half was a more even affair but with fewer notable chances than the first, with most moves breaking down due to both sides resolute defending. Farnborough continued their aerial bombardment of the City area with long-throws from Ollie Robinson but City’s makeshift back-line held firm. Due to the wet conditions stewards around the pitch brought with them towels to dry the ball help this long-throw tactic!
Both managers shuffled their pack but just as it looked as though the game was ending in a second consecutive goalless draw for City, the Clarets produced that moment of quality that the game lacked up till then. Freddie Grant slipped over and City brought the ball over to the right-hand side. Substitute Khale Da Costa found the overlapping Jazzi Barnum-Bobb and his first-time low cross was sidefooted coolly into the net by fellow sub Harry Lodovica. Lodovica’s nonchalant celebration was at odds with the away end which duly went crazy!
Farnborough once again threw everything at City with the long throws in the remaining minutes but City held firm for a 3rd consecutive clean sheet in the league. It also extended City’s unbeaten run away from home this season to 5 with incredibly only 1 goal conceded on the road.
City now move on to the Emirates FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round when they take on Essex Senior League outfit Romford FC on Saturday 1st October.
Chelmsford City: Ejeheri, Barnum-Bobb, Oluwo, James (Yila 46), Vaz, Dunne, Trotter, Yearn (Lodovica 61), Blackwell (Da Costa 76), Ruff, Jackson (C)
Unused Substitutes: Ochieng, Hockey
Bookings: Dunne, Yearn, Yila, Simpson (manager not on pitch)
Goalscorer: Lodovica 84
Man of the Match: Ovie Ejeheri
Farnborough: Turner, Young, Robinson (C), Lokko, Norville-Williams, Grant, Pendlebury, Page, Mongoy (Rowe 68), Holmes (Deering 80), Kasimu (Ferdinand 79)
Unused Substitutes: Ball, Fearn
Referee: A Farmer (Colchester)