After 2 postponements, Chelmsford finally faced off against Wealdstone in the third round of the Izuzu FA Trophy. Chelmsford were quick out the blocks, setting the theme for an action packed game. From minute 1, or even after just 52 Seconds, you were on the edge of your seat. A great City display against the higher league opposition, coupled with a moment or 2 of fortune gave the Clarets the win, adding York City away to their calendar, which is scheduled to take place on the 14th of January. Chelmsford will look to defeat yet another National League side.
There were 4 changes to the Chelmsford lineup that got a point against Braintree, on Sunday. Henry Ochieng, Callum Jones and Simeon Jackson all featured from the bench at the Dunmow Group Stadium and were all drafted into the starting eleven. Youngster Freddie Hockey got his start, after being in the proposed eleven against Wealdstone, two weeks ago. Dave Winfield was dropped to the bench, with Simeon Jackson taking the armband. Neither of our latest signings Reece Grant and Arjanit Krasniqi featured, both being cup-tied. The final casualty was Cameron James, who was not involved either. Both Chelmsford goalkeepers had returned to full fitness since the game was called off, due to fog, hence Aaron Cassie not featuring within the matchday squad.
The home team got us underway at Melbourne Stadium and looked to trouble immediately with Tom Blackwell narrowly missing out on putting Simeon Jackson through on goal. Chelmsford were relentless however and did find the back of the net within the first minute. On his first start since August, Callum Jones finished well and past Sam Howes giving Chelmsford the lead versus the National League side. City were back up the other end again as Harry Lodovica forced Jack Cook to turn behind for a corner. The corner, delivered by Eduino Vaz, just missed numerous Chelmsford players. Wealdstone troubled next as Tarryn Allarakhia fizzed the ball across the box, seeing Ejeheri half clear, before Frankie Terry took charge and cleaned up. Wealdstone took the same route just a minute later but Ejeheri held firm and killed any danger.
Wealdstone managed to break well and their full back got in a great position and played a good pull back to Olufela Olomola, but the Stones striker got it all wrong and sent it over the bar. After some good play between Harry Lodovica and Tom Blackwell, Chelmsford had another corner. The ball was put perfectly to Callum Jones’ head, but the effort was cleared before it could reach goal. Some excellent Simeon Jackson pressing allowed Jones to win the ball back and be sent on his way. Jones found Blackwell in the box who beat 3 players, but his attempted cross found the hand of Sam Howes. Wealdstone had a golden opportunity to level after just 13 minutes as a beautifully delivered ball found Olomola almost on the goalline, however he still managed to head over. Allarakhia managed to sneak in behind and evade a Barnum-Bobb tackle, before Henry Ochieng turned his pass behind for a corner to the visitors. Nothing came of the corner and Ovie Ejeheri had a goal kick. The electric start continued as, from a Tom Blackwell free kick, Frankie Terry headed towards goal and forced a save from Wealdstone’s keeper.
After 20 minutes, Wealdstone drew level. A long ball found Tarryn Allarakhia and he got to the edge of the box before firing across putting the ball at feet of Nathan Ferguson who had the easy task of rolling the ball under Ovie Ejeheri. The fast tempo of the game continued with both sides looking to fire themselves infront. With just under 10 minutes of the half to go, Chelmsford were awarded a free kick on the left hand side of Wealdstones box and Tom Blackwell delivered beautifully and Chelmsford were back in the lead. Olufela Olomola turned into his own net, flicking the ball over his own keeper, looping Sam Howes and into the top corner. City once again lead against the National League side. 2 minutes were added on by referee Aji Ajibola and Wealdstone looked to end the half strong, getting themselves a corner. The initially corner posed alot of danger, being flicked on but cleared. The ball was recycled into the box but Charlie Baker guided his header nowhere near the goal, ending an action filled first half with the Clarets 2-1 up.
Wealdstone kicked off the second half and immediately advanced through Chelmsford’s half. A corner was their reward and they utilized one of their many adventurous corner routines, only to see the shot blazed over the bar. Chelmsford came incredibly close just 5 minutes into the second half as Freddie Hockey was played wide and he delivered well, but just out of reach from Harry Lodovica, who could only watch as the ball went out of play. Chelmsford looked to be in as an Eduino Vaz ball evaded the Wealdstone defenders. Callum Jones latched on to the ball but could only win a corner. It was well dealt with, and Wealdstone looked to counter, but it amassed to nothing of any threat. The stones looked to get in behind City’s back line several times but could not seem the string the passes together when it mattered. Just before the hour mark, they made 2 substitutions, putting the Clarets defenders up against some fresh legs. Wealdstone did get themselves a good chance just minutes later as some beautiful play saw Olufela Olomola with a great shooting opportunity, but the Stone’s striker fired his half volley over Ejeheri’s bar, only at danger to his own fans behind the goal.
Jazzi Barnum-Bobb was the Clarets’ first name into the book as he gave Wealdstone a good chance to cross from a free kick. It was whipped in well by Alex Dyer and Liam Trotter sliced his clearance way over his own crossbar, somewhat lucky due to his close proximity to his own goal. The corner routine saw another easy shot for Ovie Ejeheri to save. Chelmsford looked to make a scoring chance, but Howes gathered and set Wealdstone on the counterattack. Tarryn Allarakhia was once again the creator as he flashed yet another ball across the Chelmsford six-yard box, but once again no one was there to turn it goalwards. 70 minutes on the clock and Ovie Ejeheri was called into action once again. Ashley Charles drew good space and fired an effort straight down the keeper’s throat, as he palmed it away. With the break in play, Chelmsford brought off goalscorer Callum Jones who was replaced by Khale Da Costa seeing Freddie Hockey go more central, with Khale taking his role out wide.
The visitors attacked and were once again awarded a free kick as Frankie Terry impeded their striker on the turn. The free kick beat the wall but not the first man as Simeon Jackson headed away. Chelmsford looked to go forward next, but the Canadian striker was hacked down by Ashely Charles, seeing him into the book. A brilliant mazy run was cut out by the back tracking Trotter and Wealdstone continued to dominate with a corner, that resulted in another. Once again, the Chelmsford defence dealt with it well. Another substitution came for the Clarets with just 4 minutes to go. One youngster, Freddie Hockey, was replaced by another as Samba Badjana replaced him. Deja vu then struck as once again Olomola found himself all but in the goal for an open header and sent it over the bar, once again. With less than a minute on the clock, another chance broke as Harry Lodovica battled and won against Jack Cook before firing a shot over the bar. 5 minutes were added on, and Chelmsford looked to keep the win safe. Wealdstone came forward and won themselves a corner with a minute extra played. Goalkeeper Sam Howes ventured into the box and cushioned the ball down to his teammate, only for his effort to be fired wide. Seconds were left on the clock and all 21 players sat in the Chelmsford box, all but the corner taker. The corner was delivered in and was dealt with superbly. Despite the referee playing a minute extra, Chelmsford held on and knocked out National League side Wealdstone, to set up a tie versus York City; a trip up north! A great 2-1 win leaving everyone in Claret with a smile on their face a Melbourne Stadium.
Words by Josh Lowe