The Clarets travelled South and down to Sussex as they faced Eastbourne. Earlier in the season, Chelmsford ran out 5-0 winners at the Melbourne Stadium, with Robbie Simpson hoping his side take some inspiration from their performance back in October. A Clarets dominated first half, which was not reflected in the scoreline meant that Chelmsford had to dig in, in the second half. A slow start and a strong defensive showing from Eastbourne posed an even bigger challenge. A first goal for the Clarets in the form of a late equaliser saw Robbie’s men take a point back to Essex, ahead of another Monday fixture.
With the disappointing news in the past 48 hours seeing both Frankie Terry and Kai Yearn recalled, Robbie was forced to alter his starting eleven. Returning from his injury, all be it with a batman inspired face mask, Dave Winfield was partnering Cameron James at center-back. Ben Brookes was back after being cup-tied, along with the return of Ody Alfa, after he had been sidelined for a few weeks. On the bench, new signings Tyreke Johnson and Michael Folivi were joined by Khale Da Costa, Freddie Hockey and Ernaldo Krasniqi who featured at centre-back on Monday night. There was a familiar face in the Eastbourne starting eleven, as Lee Worgan was between the sticks for the Borough.
We got underway, as Chelmsford looked to cause early problems for the hosts. After the possession returned to Eastbourne, they looked to get a great chance, as Miquel Scarlett was almost in, only for Arjanit Krasniqi to intercept. The Clarets dominated the first phases of the game, and almost got a great chance. The ball was shifted across to Liam Trotter, who gave Tom Blackwell a good chance to deliver but his cross that was fizzed in was dealt with well by Lee Worgan, as he collected well. Blackwell continued to impress, as he beat his man and, yet again managed to put the ball across but to be dealt with by Eastbourne’s defence. Eastbourne got their first chance, after Chelmsford did not defend well, seeing Bendle able to deliver for a corner. Callum Jones won the first header and then tackled his man, to see the Borough send it back to their last man. The hosts had large shouts for a penalty, just after 24 minutes as the backtracking Jamie Yila outmuscled Miquel Scarlett, sending him to the ground. It was poker face from the referee as he simply gave a goal kick.
Halfway through the half, Chelmsford came millimeters away from goal, after Alfa’s effort deflected. Brookes gave Alfa the chance, and the striker, playing a bit deeper in the number 10 role, took aim. The effort hit an Eastbourne defender and wrong footed Lee Worgan, only to go just wide. Eastbourne had their first shot, just as we reach the half an hour mark as Leona Gravata cut inside and, in space, dragged his effort well wide of the goal. After the 34th minute, a fatal error for Eastbourne gifted Chelmsford a penalty. A soft back pass to Worgan saw Jones pinch the ball. Worgan panicked, and brought Jones down seeing Lewis Sandoe have no choice but to point to the spot. Callum Jones took authority and picked the ball up. After the referee’s whistle, the cool, calm and composed Jones placed the ball into the top right corner and gave Chelmsford the lead. He left Worgan no chance, with the goalkeeper being sent the wrong way. The first half remained all Chelmsford, as Eastbourne struggled to outwit the Clarets defence. In the final few minutes of the half, Eastbourne enjoyed a spell of possession, before they wasted it and sent the ball back to Eddie
Beach. With all the allocated normal time up, Eastbourne swung a cross in and Scarlett was there to fire in, and level the scores. Despite only 2 minutes being added, Eastbourne managed another chance as Alfie Bendle hit an effort from range, which dinked off the top of the crossbar and behind for a goal kick. The referee concluded the half before any further action could commence.
HALF TIME: EBFC 1-1 CCFC
As the second half kicked off, Chelmsford continued their offensive performance, as with 20 seconds played, Tom Blackwell’s cross was fired over by Jamie Yila. Chelmsford had an early free kick, after Jones was fouled by Remy. Blackwell went short to Barnum-Bobb who crossed in, only for Trotter’s header to be tame. Eastbourne’s first attack of the half started as Jamie Yila gave the ball away. The hosts drove forward and found Luke Pearce on the edge of the box. Pearce made no mistake and slotted it in for 2-1. Immediately, Eastbourne looked to sit in, sending the ball long when they could. Yila caused problems and won a free kick. Once again. Brookes and Blackwell stood over the free kick, as the first delivered. His ball was headed clear by the first man but allowed Chelmsford to retain possession. As they tried to work their way back into the game, the Clarets continued to look for an avenue through. Blackwell got the better of Burchell and put a great ball in, which just evaded Jamie Yila. Eastbourne managed a counterattack, which was ended as Pearce was brought down. This gave Walker a great shooting opportunity, but he only hit the wall. Remy had the rebound but sent it out of the ground. With 15 gone in the half, Robbie subbed Tyreke Johnson on, as Tom Blackwell made way.
Tyreke Johnson was immediately involved, taking on Miquel Scarlett before he ran out of pitch, and gave away a goal kick. Just after the 70th minute mark, Chelmsford had their best chance. Jones was found through, and he drifted wide, before crossing to Yila in the 6 yard box. Jamie took a touch and prepared to shoot, before Leone Gravata got back to clear the danger. The corner posed no threat, with the Clarets still going in search of a goal. The frustrations continued with multiple set pieces not being up to standard, and brandishing no chances. With 8 to play, Ben Brookes’ free kick worked its way for a corner. Johnson’s delivery reaped nothing, and Eastbourne had possession. Robbie’s final throw of the dice, after Folivi replaced Barnum-Bobb, saw Freddie Hockley on again for Yila. Straight away, it was Eastbourne with a chance as Gravata drove at goal and got a shot away, which was tipped round the post by Eddie Beach. He then caught the corner, and was able to send Chelmsford forward. The attack saw the ball lumped forward and Liam Trotter brought the ball down excellently. He clipped it to the back post, where it found its way to Johnson. He delivered well, and Folivi was on hand to head in his first Chelmsford goal and equalise. A great header from the striker had finally rewarded Chelmsford. The Clarets continued forward as Eastbourne’s defensive approach was to be tested even more.
We entered the 5 added on minutes, as the game was still being dominated by Chelmsford. They continued to push, but Eastbourne continued to defend. The hosts seemed happy to take the point as they took as long as they could to restart the game. With 30 seconds to play, the final chance arose as a corner was given to Chelmsford. Dave Winfield rose highest and headed down but wide of the goal and the Chelmsford players. The goal kick brought the final whistle as both sides took a point.
FULL TIME: EBFC 2-2 CCFC
Beach (GK), James, Barnum-Bobb (Folivi 73), Trotter, Winfield (C), Blackwell (Johnson 50), Jones, Alfa, Brookes, Yila (Hockey 84), A.Krasniqi
Unused subs: Da Costa, E.Krasniqi
Goals: Jones 35 (Pen), Folivi 87,
Cautions: Winfield 40, Krasniqi 45+2, Brookes 75,
Worgan (GK), Burchell, Innocent, Barry, Walker (C), Bendle, Remy (Kastrati 79), Pearce, Gravata, Scarlett (Bartley 74), Beckford (Perez 69)
Unused subs: Wabo, Holter
Goals: Scarlett 45, Pearce 49
Cautions: Walker 39, Perez 81, Kastrati 88
Words By Josh Lowe