Clarence Park is Friday’s destination as the Clarets face St Albans City in the Vanarama National League South.
City go into this Good Friday fixture looking to extend their unbeaten streak to three games, following draws against Hemel Hempstead Town and Tonbridge Angels.
This game is also the the first of two Easter Holiday fixtures, with City then hosting Essex rivals Billericay Town at the EMG Inspire Stadium in a huge 6-pointer tie on Easter Monday [18th April 2022].
Last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Tonbridge saw the Clarets create a three point gap ahead of Billericay and Welling United, with a game in hand still to play over Bath City who sit just one place ahead on 34 points.
A win for Chelmsford could see them leapfrog Bath into 18th, should the Romans fail to beat Havant & Waterlooville at Twerton Park.
The Clarets won 2-0 the last time we visited Clarence Park on January 9th 2021, thanks to two first-half goals from Charlie Sheringham and Adam Morgan.
Chelmsford started the game brightly and were rewarded for their patient build up play on 33 minutes when Danny Imray chipped a delightful ball into the box to pick out Sheringham who had time to take a touch and place the ball in the corner.
City then doubled their lead just before half-time. A good-looking ball over the top by Callum Harrison was mopped up by the Saints’ goalkeeper Michael Johnson, but his defensive header fell straight to Morgan who lobbed the ball goal-wards from over 30 yards out and saw it nestle in the corner of the net.
St Albans thought they had found a route back into the game when the linesman flagged for a penalty less than three minutes into the second period after Tom Wraight was harshly adjudged to have brought down Devante Stanley.
Chelmsford were livid with the decision and their vociferous reaction prompted referee Jack Packman consult with his assistant. The referee proceeded to reverse the decision and showed Stanley a yellow card for diving.
The Clarets performed their defensive duties admirably and saw out the game to ensure victory over St Albans in the league, a feat no team had managed so far that season.
Tickets are available to be purchased in advance of the trip to Hertfordshire, with the prices the same online as on the day. For further ticket info, click here.
Last time out…
An Adebola Oluwo header proved not enough to give City three points against Tonbridge Angels, with Adam Coombes equalising with a set-piece in the second half.
The game had a relatively slow start, with few chances for either side in the opening 20 minutes.
The visitors found themselves with the first sight of goal when Joseph Turner collected the ball on the edge of the box and his curled effort floated just over the crossbar.
Tonbridge continued to apply pressure throughout the half, with Tommy Wood getting onto the end of a cross from the right-hand side, however went narrowly wide.
The Clarets later found themselves on a swift counterattack through Louis Dunne, which resulted in a corner that was converted at the far post by Oluwo for 1-0.
City then seemed to find their feet in the game, as Charlie Sheringham made a run down the left-hand side and managed to force a corner, however this would prove to be the last action of the half and Robbie Simpson’s side led at the interval.
Following the interval, Tonbridge won a free kick 25 yards from goal, Adam Coombes stepped up and lasered the ball in off the crossbar to equalise.
City hit Tonbridge on the break again five minutes later, as a layoff from Matt Rush found itself with Christian Frimpong but his effort was well wide.
City maintained their efforts on the counterattack, with Tom Blackwell using his abilities on the ball to forge a shooting opportunity that narrowly missed the top corner.
As we entered the final 15 minutes, City continued to push in search of a winner and this attacking intent was aided by the introduction of Simeon Jackson in the 78th minute after a long period out with injury.
Shortly after, Dara Dada found himself in a large patch of space, roughly 30 yards from goal, and his decision to shoot almost paid off as he came close to testing Jonathan Henly’s abilities.
There were few further chances in the game, meaning the spoils were shared between the two sides.
St Albans currently occupy 7th place in the table, the final play-off spot, on 48 points following the 2-0 win away to Hungerford Town last weekend.
This win put an end to a run of five straight defeats in the league, giving them the advantage over play-off rivals Hungerford, Havant, Dulwich Hamlet & Chippenham Town.
Only two points separate these five teams as they all battle it out for the remaining play-off position.
The Saints experienced a tough start to their 2021/22 campaign, opening the season with defeat at home to Dartford, followed by another loss away to Dorking Wanderers.
They bounced back though, going the next eight league games unbeaten, which included wins over Welling, Slough Town, Havant, Braintree Town, Bath, Billericay and Eastbourne Borough.
Their winning streak was put to an end on November 16th 2021 in a 4-3 defeat at home to Dulwich.
Outside of league action, St Albans enjoyed a decent Emirates FA Cup run, reaching the second round of the competition.
It wasn’t all straight forward though, as they had to negotiate replays in their opening three qualifying rounds against Concord Rangers, Metropolitan Police and Corinthian Casuals.
Their perseverance in these games was rewarded as they were drawn with Sky Bet League Two side Forest Green Rovers. A home tie in the first round proper and a chance to pack out Clarence Park.
The Saints fans were treated to a remarkable game, with their side triumphing over Rovers with a 3-2 win live on BBC Sport.
The fairytale could not continue though, as they were put to the sword by Vanarama National League side Boreham Wood 4-0 at Meadow Park in the next round.
Opposition danger man…
It’s hard to look past striker Shaun Jeffers as St Albans’ danger man on this Good Friday fixture.
The former Chelmsford attacker has scored 32 goals and contributed with 9 assists in 44 appearances in all competitions so far this season.
One of these goals came against City in January earlier this year and it was also his late goal in the 78th minute over Forest Green that saw his side complete a giant killing in their Emirates FA Cup fixture.
Jeffers, who turned 30 this week, has proven himself a legitimate danger at this level and has continued to score goals whoever he has played for in this league, which also includes Hampton & Richmond Borough.
The forward-man started his career at Coventry City, who were in the Championship at the time, making his league debut against Barnsley in August 2009.
After 8 appearances in total for the Sky Blues, he would go on to feature for other football league sides such as Peterborough United, Newport County and Yeovil Town.
Jeffers first joined the Clarets in the summer of 2016, scoring 23 goals in 50 appearances as City reached the National League South play-offs.
After departing at the end of the 2016/17 season and having stints at Boreham Wood and Brackley Town, the striker returned to the EMG Inspire Stadium for a second spell in May 2019, scoring 16 goals.
Following the conclusion of the 2019/20 campaign, the attacker joined St Albans in July 2020.
Our last meeting…
Clarets 1-1 St Albans City, Monday 17th January 2022.
Robbie Simpson’s side shared the points with St Albans City following a strong performance in a 1-1 draw.
City started the game well at the EMG Inspire Stadium and that set the tone for the half, pressing the visitors high and forcing half chances.
The first saw Charlie Sheringham slam wide of Michael Johnson’s goal at the near post from a John Freeman corner.
Robbie Simpson’s side’s pressure continued throughout the half, but clear-cut chances were lacking as City were limited to speculative efforts.
Despite the Clarets’ pressure, it was the visitors who took the lead after a counterattack from a Tom Blackwell free-kick was rounded off by Shaun Jeffers slamming a squared ball in off the crossbar.
The home side reacted well after the goal and resumed the pressure but bar a strong call for a spot-kick after Chez Isaac looked to hit a shot against a Saints defender’s hand, clear opportunities were still lacking.
The best chance either side forced during the opening phase of the second half saw Adebola Oluwo presented with a good opportunity.
Isaac fired a free-kick into the box from deep, which came to Simeon Jackson who crossed back in to find Oluwo six yards out but the resulting header was straight at Johnson.
The game saw a lull following the mid-point as the tie was briefly suspended due to some concern for a supporter behind the goal, with the game playing on after a brief break. All at the Club hopes the supporter in question is okay.
Despite the match’s lull, City grabbed an equaliser just over 10 minutes from the end of normal time with an excellent strike from Jackson.
Ghandour raced down the right before firing a ball forward which the Saints’ defence teed up for the Canadian to hammer a sumptuous volley beyond Johnson.
With the scores tied, the Saints almost went ahead again immediately following the equaliser, with a Jeffers effort coming back off the crossbar.
The chance was ultimately the final real opportunity of the game and the scores remained tied.
Where to follow the game…
The Club will be providing live minute-by-minute coverage of the game on Twitter (@OfficialClarets) using the hashtag #CCFC.
There will also be live audio commentary from Radio Clarets.
Post-match reports, highlights and interviews will be found on the club website, social media and ClaretsTV following the game.