Full time: Farnborough 1-1 Chelmsford City

Chelmsford City were forced to share the points with Farnborough on Tuesday evening at the Saunders Transport Community Stadium, with Charlie Ruff’s 45th minute header cancelling out Hady Ghandour’s opener.

The Clarets crafted the better opportunities on the night, going agonisingly close on two occasions in the first half when Francis and Ruff hit the woodwork. Boro goalkeeper Jack Turner was in top form in the second half, denying Francis and Alfa on separate occasions from close range, while substitute Freddie Hockey also had a late effort cleared off the goal line.

Following a cagey start to proceedings in Hampshire, the game sparked into life in the 19th minute when Jermaine Francis’ shot struck the post. City turned defence into attack quickly when Callum Watts won possession in midfield and threaded the ball to Charlie Ruff, whose quick backheel picked out Francis in space. Francis drove towards the Farnborough penalty area before unleashing a low strike from 30 yards, which Turner’s hand was able to divert onto the post.

Turner turned from goalkeeper to goal provider six minutes later, when his drop-kick picked out the run of Hady Ghandour behind the Clarets’ backline. Ghandour beat the offside trap and dribbled around the onrushing Henry Gray, before slotting the ball into the empty City net to put his side ahead.

Despite not being used to going behind in games recently, City responded well to the hosts’ opener and levelled the score ahead of half time when Charlie Ruff scored in an away league game for the 7th consecutive match in a row. A free kick by Ruff taken from the edge of the box was tipped over the crossbar by Turner, but the no.16 got the beating of the Yellows’ keeper from the subsequent corner. Ruff calmly headed Ben Brookes’ delivery into the bottom corner of the net, continuing his fine recent goalscoring form.

Ruff nearly completed a brace in added time of the first half, as he pounced on some Farnborough indecision at the back to connect with a cross from the left-hand-side. Ruff’s volley got the beating of Turner but not the woodwork, with the Clarets being denied by the crossbar this time.

Simpson’s side probed for a winner throughout the second period but were unable to find the decisive goal. Ody Alfa’s accurate cross in the 65th minute across the corridor of uncertainty found Francis at the back post, but Francis’ first-time header landed straight into the grateful hands of Turner. Alfa then went close to scoring in the 82nd minute, when a through ball from George Alexander picked out the run of the former QPR man. Alfa’s shot across goal was smartly diverted behind by Turner, who made another impressive stop.

City’s final big chance of the night came in the dying moments of the match, when substitute Freddie Hockey’s effort from close range seemed to get the beating of Turner but not the Farnborough defence, who managed to shank Hockey’s strike off the goal line and clear from danger.

Unable to find an elusive winning goal, the Clarets were forced to return to Essex with a point instead of all three. City have extended their unbeaten run in the National League South to five games following Tuesday’s result, and remain 2nd in the league table ahead of Saturday’s home clash against Aveley.

Farnborough XI: Turner (GK); Norville-Williams, Fearn ©, Hollis, Pruti, Pendlebury, Clark (Haigh 81’), Saied, Kuhl, Mathews-Lewis (Bradbury 74’), Ghandour (Kasimu 46’).

Unused substitutes: Ball, Robinson.

Yellow cards: Fearn, Hollis

Chelmsford City XI: Gray (GK); Barnum-Bobb, Barbrook, Winfield ©, Brookes; Ochieng (Wordsworth 75’), Watts; Francis, Ruff (Hockey 90+2’), Alfa (Castiglione 86’); Alexander.

Unused substitutes: James, Carruthers.

Yellow cards: Francis

Attendance: 650

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