Greg Cundle’s second-half strike the difference as City fall to a narrow defeat to the league leaders.

Less than a month after facing the Fleet down in Kent, they came up to the Melbourne Stadium, having won 6 and drawn 2 in the league since. With Robbie’s men being 3 games unbeaten, picking up 3 clean sheets in the process, it was set up to be a good matchup. The table toppers proved an incredibly tough opponent for Chelmsford as a full 90 minutes worth of battling was setled by just 1 goal. Despite a narrow defeat, the Clarets were on par, if not better then Ebbsfleet for period of the game and will look to be encouraged for the Essex Senior Cup Semi-Final on Monday versus Essex rivals Ebbsfleet United.

After a late, late winner against Tonbridge on Monday, Robbie was forced into 1 change due to an injury, and made another to see a new signing make his debut. After suffering a heavy blow to his face, captain Dave Winfield was out of the team. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb returned to the side in defence to replace him. Tom Blackwell fell to the bench as new signing Tyreke Johnson was put straight into the starting lineup by Robbie. With no Winfield or Jackson, Liam Trotter took the armband for the second time this season. Ernaldo Krasniqi returned to the bench after he had been sidelined with an injury recently, alongside Kai Yearn, who scored at the Emirates on Thursday night in the FA Youth Cup, with all the media team in attendance.

Ebbsfleet got us underway at the Melbourne Stadium, with Tyreke Johnson getting onvolved straight away and winning a free kick inside 20 seconds. After an attempt from Cameron James, a corner came the way of the Clarets. The corner posed no danger and was eventually cleared by Ebbsfleet. After just 4 minutes, Ebbsfleet had one cleared off the line, as Omari Sterling-James’ corner was palmed clear by Eddie Beach on the line. Then, a poor pass by Eddie Beach left him 1 on 1 with Dominic Poleon who set up Toby Edser. His effort was saved well by Eddie, only for the ball to fall straight back to Poleon, who cannoned the ball goalwards, resulting in another great save by Eddie Beach. With 14 minutes on the clock, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb was booked and gave away a free kick in a dangerous position. Sterling-James delivered the ball but only straight onto Camron James’ head, who cleared the danger. Ebbsfleet then had an amazing chance to take the lead. Poleon broke away well down the left hand side and managed to send the ball low and hard across goal. Bingham was the target, but a Chelmsford defender was there to clear.

Half way through the second half, the first real chance came the way of Chelmsford. Some good play saw Callum Jones find space out wide on the right and he delivered into the box. Michael Folivi was there and flung himself at the cross, with his diving header directing the ball wide of the goal, posing no threat. With just 10 minutes left in the first half, the game had somewhat slowed. However, Ebbsfleet came forward and a low cross into the box was cleared by Ben Brookes and straight to Sterling-James. From 25 yards out, Sterling-James took aim and fired his effort just over Eddie Beach and his crossbar. After a scare up one end, it was Chelmsford’s turn to have a go from distance. Switching wings with Jamie Yila, Tyreke Johnson was able to cut inside and have an effort at goal, but he could only drag it wide of the post. With all normal time up, 2 minutes were added on and were soon over with nothing happening nor anything between the 2 sides in the first half.


The second half got underway, with a surprising half time sub, seeing Sterling-James replaced by Greg Cundle who was one of Ebbsfleet’s best players in the first half. The first action saw Poleon win a corner, which was once again put straight on top of Eddie Beach, seeing him stretch to make another good save. Just minutes later, Chelmsford had a corner after Brookes’ shot was sliced behind. Tyreke Johnson delivered but Cameron James’ header was cleared rather easily by the Ebbsfleet defenders. After coming on and being booked, Cundle got involved again, scoring the games first. Greg Cundle went on a solo run, through multiple Chelmsford defenders before slotting past Beach. Being behind, Robbie turned to the bench not soon after. Simeon Jackson was introduced and replaced Michael Folivi. Next, there were massive penalty shouts for the Clarets. Jamie Yila did excellently as he outmuscled and outsmarted Haydn Hollis, who then bundled straight into the winger and sent him to the floor. Every Chelmsford fan wanted a penalty, with every Ebbsfleet fan thinking that they had got away with one. After coming on for new signing Tyreke Johnson, Tom Blackwell was so so close to getting a golden opportunity as Simeon Jackson picked the ball up deep and sent an excellent ball through to Tom. He attempted to hook the ball down out the sky, but his touch sent the ball wide and the Ebbsfleet players were able to deal with the ball.

Yet again, another great chance was almost there for Tom Blackwell. A long Ben Brookes throw sent Callum Jones in behind the Ebbsfleet defenders and he looked up and delivered well. Tom Blackwell chested it down and took one touch to many as he could have struck it goalwards but was tackled before he could deal any damage. With just under 15 minutes to play, Chelmsford began to mount the pressure as Jazzi Barnum-Bobb won a corner. Ben Brookes delivered deep towards the back post, only for it to go all the way through and evade everyone. The attacks continued to come as Arjanit Krasniqi put a great low ball in which was turned behind by Jombati. The corner was fizzed in by Tom Blackwell and flicked on excellently by Simeon Jackson, only for it to be cleared off the line by Billy Clifford. Then, another corner was delivered in and found its way to Khale Da Costa on the edge of the box, before he fired his effort goalwards, but only just wide of the post. With the 90 minutes up, massive drama followed as a Tom Blackwell cross was seemingly turned in by Khale Da Costa until the referee cleared up that he had given a foul as Da Costa had supposedly pushed Cousins into the goal. Both Jackson and Martin were booked from either side after a small brawl had followed the decision. With Ebbsfleet managing to flood forward in the closing minutes, they held the ball well and settled for the 1-0.


Chelmsford City:

Beach (GK), James, Barnum-Bobb, Trotter (C), Folivi (Jackson 56’), Jones, Brookes, Terry, Yila (Da Costa 74’), Johnson (Blackwell 61’), A.Krasniqi

Unused subs: Yearn, Jackson, Blackwell, Da Costa, E.Krasniqi

Cautions: Barnum-Bobb 14’, Jackson 90+2’

Ebbsfleet United:

Cousins (GK), O’Neill (Martin 81’), Wright, Jombati, Sterling-James (Cundle 46’), N’Guessan (Clifford 64’), Bingham (C), Poleon, Edser, Chapman, Hollis

Unused subs: Martin, Cundle, Domi, Clifford, Coulthirst

Goals: Cundle 52’

Cautions: Poleon 37’, Cundle 51’, Chapman 68’, Martin 90+2′

Attendance: 972

Words By Josh Lowe

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