League football returns to the Melbourne Community Stadium as Chelmsford welcome Farnborough to Essex. After doing the league double last season, Robbie’s men will hope for another victorious result against the Yellows. Much like the games last season, it was a close match. However, a superb strike from debutant Adam Mills wrapped up the points for the Clarets, to send Farnborough home empty handed.
After the tough matchup of Arsenal, Robbie opted to keep the same starting elven, giving 7 competitive debuts to players. With Oluwayemi in goal, Brookes, Winfield, and Jenkins were ahead of him. Across the midfield, Mills and Barnum-Bobb were either side of the pairing of Wordsworth and Ebuozeme. Up top, Ruff and Carruthers were in support of Jones. On the bench, the returning Terry was inline to make a third debut for the club, with new signings Dabre, Bettamer, Castiglione joined by Freddie Hockey.
It was the Boro, kitted out in their white away kit, who got the 23/24 season underway in Essex, as the rain once again started to come down. An early free kick was given to Farnborough, just a minute in. The ball was sent up and long, but only resulted in the Clarets launching up the field, to win a throw. The resulting throw brough nothing, as the visitors regain possession of the ball. It was the Clarets who came forward with the first real danger, as a quick Wordsworth free kick saw Adam Mills break and win a corner. Carruthers delivered deep but all the way out for a goal kick, with the ball crashing off Alfie Pavey following it going out. However, it was almost a golden opportunity for former Claret Michael Folivi. The ball bounced around as the Clarets failed to clear, with the ball dropping to Farnborough’s number 10. Anthony Wordsworth produced a clear sliding tackle, across the soaked turf, to prevent any danger. With just over 10 minutes on the clock, the Clarets were continuing to come forward, with Ruff being fouled 30 yards out. Carruthers stepped up, only for the effort to hit the wall. It was recycled well by the Clarets, but Brookes’ cross was only met by a Farnborough head.
The conditions were taking their toll, as Josh Oluwayemi was called into action by his own team twice. First, a Winfield header was wide of the target, seeing Olwayemi slip but get back to his feet to prevent a disaster own goal. Then, it was a underpowered back pass as Oluwayemi rushed out to clear, before Folivi could reach the loose ball. Finally, with half an hour played, the first real save was pulled off. Some neat football from the Clarets allowed Mills to tee up Carruthers. Samir picked his spot and attempt to bend it into the top right, only for an outstretched Jack Turner to make a stupendous save to claw the ball away. After a delay in play for a Farnborough player requiring treatment, the Boro gave the ball away as the Clarets flooded forward. Some great play by Ruff allowed Carruthers to ship it wide to Mills. Adam delivered, as Reggie Young could only turn behind for a corner at the backpost. Brookes was across to deliver, and a pinpoint ball met the head of captain, Dave Winfield. However, no danger was caused as the header skimmed wide of Jack Turner’s goal.
With Morgan Snow just about to raise the board, a breakthrough finally came. Ruff had picked the ball up and raced into the box before a good tackle thwarted his charge. Farnborough failed to clear, as the ball fell kindly towards Adam Mills. A beautiful outside of the foot effort from Mills was seemingly too much for Turner, as his outstretched hand got to the ball, but did not do enough. Mills raced away in jubilation, as he slid right infront of the celebrating Clarets fans for his debut day goal. The board showed a total 3 minutes were added on, as neither side were troubled before the referee blew his whistle for the break.
HALF TIME: CCFC 1-0 FFC
With the lead now, the Clarets got the second half underway. They were the first to create anything in the second half, as Callum Jones used his body well to create a chance. He battled well before flicking the ball over Sid Nelson. He was forced somewhat wide, but managed to get a shot away, only hitting the side netting. Minutes later, Farnborough were left wondering how, as Folivi missed from the goal line. A free kick routine was poorly executed but Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, who was booked for giving away the foul, sliced his effort towards Oluwayemi. He tried claim but the ball bounced up and to Folivi who somehow squandered an amazing opportunity, seeing the ball wide for a goal kick. Not long after that, Alfie Pavey missed an opportunity to lob Oluwayemi. Josh’s poor clearance was straight to Pavey, 35 yards out, who hesitated before sending a tame effort simply into the arms of Oluwayemi.
With a delay in play for some mischief from Callum Cullen, the referee had a big decision to make. Somehow, nothing came of it and Farnborough were allowed to take their corner. The delivery was poor, and routine for Josh Oluwayemi who clawed away. The Boro were growing into the game though, as they got forward to win another corner. This time it was Dave Winfield who cleared his lines. Round 3 then came, as the delivery produced mass confusion, s the ball bounced about. It seemed to drop perfectly for Callum Cullen, as he was one on one with Oluwayemi. Ben Brookes came from nowhere, as his last-ditch tackle sent the ball clear. The Clarets were feeling the pressure, as Norville-Williams was able to race through and get a ferocious effort struck towards Oluwayemi, who palmed away brilliantly, making a superb save. Wordsworth tracked across to clear the ball, but was beaten by a Farnborough man who, instead of trying to create, threw himself to the floor embarrassingly, as the referee waved away any chance of a penalty.
Entering the final 5, the Clarets were getting on the ball and making Farnborough go back, as they looked to secure the win. The Boro were not creating much going forward, as the Clarets were doing well to nullify their forward attempts. Ticking over the 90, the Clarets needed to be smart as they entered the final 6 added on minutes. With just 1 minutes played, a nasty head collision between 2 Farnborough players brought a halt to the game. Luckily, both Side Nelson and Ollie Robinson were able to resume the game, as the Clarets continued to keep the win intact. Mo Bettamer looked to do so, winning a corner after his effort was deflected behind for a goal.
It was backs to the wall for the Clarets, as the minutes ticked away but, ultimately it was an Adam Mills debut day goal to secure the 3 points.
FULL TIME: CCFC 1-0 FFC
Oluwayemi (GK), Brookes, Wordsworth, Winfield (C), Ebuzoeme, Carruthers (Dabre 74’), Mills, Jenkins, Jones (Bettamer 81’), Ruff (Castiglione 85’), Barnum-Bobb
Unused subs: Terry, Hockey
Goals: Mills 45’
Cautions: Barnum-Bobb 52’, Ruff 72’, Ebuzoeme 83’
Turner (GK), Ball, Norville-Williams, Partington (C), Mekki, Perez (Robinson 82’), Pavey, Folivi (Cullen 60’), Young, Upward (Payce 78’), Nelson
Unused subs: Fearn, Saunders
Report by Josh Lowe
Cover image by Roger Robinson Photography