After getting back to winnings ways against Hungerford, it was a trip to North London for the Clarets and Theobalds Lane. A win here would see a playoff place guaranteed for Chelmsford, with just 2 games left to play. An early goal seemed to set the theme of the half, with Chelmsford having double figure corners and double figures in shots. The were not worth anything, with Cheshunt’s second shot seeing it 1-1 at the break. 2 vital moments arrived in the second half, with Eddie Beach being the hero at one end, performing a great penalty save. However, it was captain Dave Winfield who won the game, with his 80th minute header to seal all 3 points. Robbie’s men are now guaranteed a playoff place and a chance at promotion.
A few changes came to Robbie’s starting eleven, with players rested from the emphatic 5-1 win on Saturday. After he was subbed off on Saturday, Ben Brookes made way for Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, emulating the substitution made at the weekend. Liam Trotter was also out the squad, with James Blanchfield in to make his first league start for Chelmsford. Elsewhere, Simeon Jackson was in to start with Michael Folivi, after his playmaking performance, on the bench. He was joined by Jacob Marsden, Harry Lodovica, Giovanni McGregor and Clarets Manager Robbie Simpson.
It was Blanchfield who got the game underway, with Chelmsford utilising Tom Blackwell’s pace early to get a throw in. It was taken quickly, and a Jazzi Barnum-Bobb cross was headed wide by Simeon Jackson. It was the same story once again, just a minute later but Barnum-Bobb was able to win a corner. It was Arjanit Krasniqi who sent it in low, with Callum Jones turning on the spot but not being able to get it through the sea of yellow and black. After recycling the ball, it was Jones who became provider. Some good work from Callum got him wide where he put a good cross in for Simeon Jackson, who was awaiting at the front post. Simeon made no mistake, leaving Adam Desbois no chance as he gave the Clarets the lead after just 4 minutes. The Clarets had found a way through early on, with Tom Blackwell’s pace proving no match for Da Silva Fernandes, who was forced to turn the ball time on multiple occasions. After a long Eddie Beach kick, he turned behind for a corner, with the Clarets looking to cause more danger. Krasniqi sent it in and Pitblado turned behind for another. It was cleared, but only as far as James Blanchfield who chested the ball and fired a volley over the bar. James was involved again, after winning the ball and setting the Clarets on the attack. He sprayed the ball wide to Simeon Jackson who twisted and turned before finding Tyreke Johnson. His low ball was not cleared properly but, before a shot could come, the referee had adjudged Simeon Jackson to have handled and the hosts had a free kick.
There was a constant in the first 20 minutes, with the Clarets flurrying forward and looking to test the Cheshunt back line once again. Another corner was won, and it was more danger for Cheshunt to deal with. It dropped twice for captain Dave Winfield, who looked to be in goal scoring form but saw an effort blocked and the saved. After taking the corner, it was Tom Blackwell to look to test Desbois next. Krasniqi gave Tom the freedom to cut inside, which he did so well and if it weren’t for a good Cheshunt block, could have doubled the lead. The resultant corner, delivered by Tom, saw Adebola Oluwo rise highest where he could only put his effort wide, allowing Cheshunt to breathe for a minute or 2. When they did get the ball, the Ambers were wasteful, not being able to produce
the quality when needed. On the other hand, the Clarets were playing well with James Blanchfield excelling on his first start. His midfield linkup with Krasniqi was the key to unlock to Cheshunt backline and was being utilisied time after time. Getting their foot on the ball, Cheshunt were able to get their first shot on target, just after the half-an-hour mark. The ball came to Zech Obiero who in space, was only able to send the ball to Eddie Beach for catching practise. It was a more testing task just minutes later after some complacent Chelmsford defending. Ken Charles had time to touch the ball down and get his shot away which, with a slight deflection, saw Eddie Beach get down low to claim well. After some good keeping from Beach, it was up the other end for some keeper action. Cameron James diving header was almost flicked in by Simeon Jackson on the goal line but, Desbois was on hand to claim and hold. After 2 minutes were added on, all be it 40 seconds into the added time. Chelmsford looked to be going into the break 1-0 up. It was a through ball that undid the back line, with Ken Charles latching onto it. He hit it low and hard and past the onrushing Eddie Beach to give a late leveller to Cheshunt at the end of the first half. The whistle was blown twice in 3 seconds, with it 1-1 as the half commenced.
HALF TIME: CFC 1-1 CCFC
With a late goal by Cheshunt, they kicked off and came out with their tails up. With just 2 minutes played, Charles was looking to dictate the play once again. He stood up to Oluwo, faking to go one way or another before setting Obiero on the edge of the box. He will claim it was a bobble, but despite looking for a controlled finish, he sent it well over the crossbar. Obiero looked to turn provider next as he faced up Cameron James. Using his blistering pace, he dashed past and fizzed a ferocious ball across the face of goal where, luckily for Chelmsford, no one was on hand to turn it goalwards. It was a scrapy 10 minutes that followed, with the Clarets failing to get the ball down, under control and play their football. Cheshunt looked to capitalise but were still wasteful and inviting the pressure back on themselves. But the Clarets were almost following suit as they could not make much from the chances created. Some clever thinking from Tom Blackwell allowed Tyreke Johnson to storm forward, on the left-hand side. Johnson looked up and, seeing players in the box, put a low whipped ball in but straight to the hands of Desbois.
Having been a real nothing first 25 minutes, a great chance went begging for the Clarets. Tom Blackwell was played in over the top by James Blanchfield where he latched onto it and got the burners on. Some silky skill saw him cut to the wing and smashed the ball across, where it just about evaded Jazzi Barnum-Bobb and Simeon Jackson. With the scores still level and chances slim, Robbie turned to his bench to try and change the game. Firstly, goalscorer Simeon Jackson was replaced by Harry Lodovica as well as Michael Folivi getting on for Tyreke Johnson. It was not the Clarets’ substitutes making the difference as former Claret Jamar Loza, who had been subbed on for Cheshunt, won the Ambers a penalty. It was soft, with Winfield’s outstretched arm arguably being run into by Loza but the referee had no change of mind. Ken Charles stepped up and Chelsea loanee Eddie Beach dived down to his right to make an outstanding save, to maintain the level scoreline. With a soft penalty at one end, Chelmsford had their penalty claims waved away, despite Harry Lodovica being mauled down. However, from the resulting corner it was captain fantastic, Zoro, who struck again. Tom Blackwell floated the ball in, and it was Dave Winfield rising high into the sky to cannon a header down and into the back of the net to give Chelmsford back the lead. There was just 10 minutes to go, with the Clarets fan in full swing. ‘I just can’t get it enough of Chelmsford City’ rang out at Theobalds Lane with Robbie’s men in control from back to front.
Fighting for their league place, Cheshunt looked to throw everything forward. A controversial free kick was given away, and danger arose. It was swung in by Obiero but flicked wide of the post. The pressure was mounting, with Cheshunt being able to utilise a long throw from substitute Newton.
Winfield rose and turned behind for a corner. It did not beat the first man, as James Blanchfield clear before the ball was sent back in but into Eddie Beach’s arms. A minor scare came as we entered added time, with Beach dropping the ball but managing to make a great save before Dave Winfield sent the ball clear. With 4 minutes added on, the points were almost in the bag. On off the bench , Giovanni McGregor entered Fifa Street mode, toying with the Cheshunt players as he strived forward. But, it was 2 vital goals, for 3 vital points. Captain fantastic struck when it mattered most, on top of some superb individual performances to send Chelmsford City FC back into the Vanarama National League South playoffs.
FULL TIME: CFC 1-2 CCFC
Beach (GK), James, Barnum-Bobb, Winfield (C), Oluwo, Johnson (Folivi 73’), Jackson (Lodovica 73’), Blackwell (McGregor 90+2), Jones, Blanchfield, Krasniqi
Unused subs: Marsden (GK), Simpson
Goals: Jackson 4’, Winfield 80’,
Cautions: Johnson 72’,
Desbois (GK), Cracknell, Pitblado, Alexander (Newton 85’), McKenzie (C), Da Silva Fernandes, Obiero, Hobbs, Charles, Cue (Loza 64’), Reynolds
Unused subs: Ekongo, Edwards, Maja
Goals: Charles 45+2’
Cautions: Da Silva Fernandes 90+4’
Words By Josh Lowe