After yet another midweek clash, the Clarets returned home to face Bath City, a side lingering in the mid table region. Earlier in the season, a good test at Twerton Park saw the Clarets run out 1-0 winners after Harry Lodovica scored halfway through the second half. It was a game of 2 halves today, with a reshuffled Chelmsford lineup struggling against the Romans. A goal in both the early and late stages of the game saw the visitors travel home with a smile on their face.
Robbie was more so forced into changes after Tuesday night’s eventful draw with Hungerford. On Friday, the day prior to the game, it was announced that both Ody Alfa and Ernaldo Krasniqi were joining the Clarets on loan from Championship sides QPR and Huddersfield. Ernaldo was thrown in to partner Henry Ochieng in midfield, with Ody having to wait on the bench. Frankie Terry missed out with an injury which saw Arjanit Krasniqi come in and play at left back. Elsewhere, Eddie Beach was another player who missed out with an injury seeing Jacob Marsden called in to deputise and Simeon Jackson started, making way for Tom Blackwell. Ben Brookes was forced to sit and watch after he was sent off for Hashtag United last Saturday, seeing his 1 game suspension carry over to today’s fixture.
We got underway at Melbourne Stadium, with Chelmsford looking to end a barren run of results and kick on. This was not helped early on as some good play down the right-hand side saw an opening form for Bath. The ball was played across beautifully and gave Scott Wilson a great chance to place his shot, which he did well finding the back of the net. Bath led inside 7 minutes. The Romans did not stop there as they came forward yet again, this time with Cody Cooke. He found space on the left and fired a great effort, which seemed to be lopping in just under the crossbar, only for Jacob Marden to pull of a spectacular save to tip it over the bar and out for a corner. Chelmsford did get themselves an opportunity not long after. Kai Yearn drove forward and sent a lovely ball out to makeshift Left Back Arjanit Krasniqi. He beat his man and fired a shot goalwards, only to see it hit the side netting. After 1 Krasniqi went close, it was time for the other. The ball went from left to right as Barnum-Bobb received it. He found Ochieng whose cross landed at Ernaldo Krasniqi on the edge of the box and he got the chance to shoot, but could only drag his shot wide. Once again, Cody Cooke was causing problems for the Clarets. Winfield shielded the ball from him before, arguably being fouled, only for the referee to play on. Cooke’s effort went straight across the face of goal, warranting a save from Marsden. The corner which came after amassed to no danger.
Chelmsford finally started to grow into the game around halfway through the first half, winning the ball high up the pitch after a good press. The ball was slipped through to Kai Yearn and he looked to slot it across the box for an easy tap in, only for Max Harris to get down well and claim. They continued to threaten after gaining confidence. This time it was Reece Grant, as he cut in on the right and twisted and turned, sending his man to ground but could only send his effort straight into the hand of Harris. Once again Cooke was in the thick of the action, getting yet another chance. The ball fell to his feet, and he turned well before getting a shot a goal, one which Jacob was equal to and produced a good save. The resultant corner was floated in well, but Jacob rose highest to claim. Before the half could close, another chance came for Chelmsford. Just after 2 minutes were added on, a Kai Yearn corner was won well by Dave Winfield who found Ernaldo Krasniqi. He laid it off and Cameron James, from 18 yards out, sent his effort over the bar, much to his frustration. Before anything else occurred, the referee brought the first half to an end.
HALF TIME: CCFC 0-1 BCFC
With the second half kicked off, Chelmsford looked to continue where they left off, winning another corner. Yet again, Kai Yearn delivered brilliantly, towards Cameron James. He could not get on the ned of it but retrieved the ball and kept the chance alive. After a quick give and go with Ernaldo Krasniqi, Cameron got his cross in, only for it to be cleared. Despite much of the early stages being played in Bath’s half, Jacob Marsden was still switched on. Bath won a free kick and sent the ball in, it was cleared. The ball fell to James Morton on the edge of the box, and he tested Marsden, sending an unbelievable effort back towards goal. Jacob was at full stretch and produced a world class save to deny him, tipping the effort over the bar with a fingertip save. Still chasing the game, Robbie turned to his bench. Reece Grant made way and latest signing Ody Alfa came on, to make his second appearance this season at Melbourne Stadium, first for the Clarets. With half of the second half played, the set pieces kept on coming for Chelmsford. Yet again, Winfield won a Yearn deliver and it, again, fell to Ernaldo who managed to have a shot but it was blocked before it caused any danger. Another sub followed as Henry Ochieng came off and Tom Blackwell was on to inject some energy. Instantly, he was involved. Callum Jones did well to find space on the left hand side and sent a trivela cross towards Tom who rose high and was met by the onrushing Max Harris who clattered into him. Luckily, both players were fine, and the referee sided with the goalkeeper, awarding him a free kick.
Once again, Blackwell was at the heart of the Clarets attack. He was played in over the Bath fullback and cut in, allowing him to pull the ball back to Simeon Jackson who just missed the ball. Kai Yearn was on hand, but he could only fire his effort wide, a golden chance for Chelmsford to draw things level. With the minutes trickling away, a final throw of the dice was made. Harry Lodovica was sent on for Jazzi Barnum-Bobb and went straight up top. Immediately, he won a flick on and things looked promising for the Clarets. Bath cleared up field and towards Winfield. He managed to clear but only to a Bath player. It was then rolled to Tom Smith, who had not been on for long, and he rolled it in past Marsden, to double the visitors lead and secure the points. With 5 minutes added on, a comeback looked far away. Callum Jones did manage to muster up a chance, after Jacob Marsden’s long ball was flicked on by Lodovica. Jones was hounded by defenders and sent his effort high and wide of the Bath City goal. Bath managed the final few minutes well and took all 3 points home in the end. Goals early and late defeated the Clarets.
FULL TIME: CCFC 0-2 BCFC
Marsden (GK), James, Barnum-Bobb (Lodovica 85’), Winfield (C), Yearn, Jackson, Jones, Ochieng (Blackwell 65’), Grant (Alfa 57’), A.Krasniqi, E.Krasniqi
Unused subs: Da Costa, Hockey
Harris (GK), Dyer, Batten, Parselle (C), Hayfield, Cooke, Frear, Lines, Spokes (Smith 85’), Wilson (Cox 72’), Morton
Unused subs: Clarke (GK), Mannings, Rose,
Goals: Wilson 7’, Smith 87’
Caution: Cooke 51’
Words By Josh Lowe