Full time: Taunton Town 2-3 Chelmsford City

Chelmsford City produced a dramatic late win by coming back from two goals behind to beat Taunton Town.

The Peacocks, who were playing at Wordsworth Drive for just the second time in the past six weeks, got off to a fast start when goals from Zac Bell and Nick Grimes put the hosts ahead inside the opening twenty minutes.

Jermaine Francis’ volley halved Taunton’s lead before the half time mark, but it looked like City would be travelling home to Essex empty handed with Robbie Simpson’s men unable to find an equaliser in normal time of the second half.

Charlie Ruff’s added time goals changed that though and secured the Clarets an incredible away victory, with the midfielder’s 15th and 16th league strikes of the season scored in the 93rd and 95th minute respectively earning the Clarets three points.

City arrived into Saturday’s game looking to record a third win in seven days, after beating Bath City last weekend and Heybridge Swifts in midweek. Simpson made two changes to the starting eleven which beat the Romans, with Henry Ochieng replacing the suspended Finley Barbrook and Freddie Hockey coming in for George Alexander up front.

The Clarets’ afternoon in Somerset got off to a nightmare start though, when Zac Bell struck Lloyd James’ cross past Henry Gray in the 5th minute. James picked out Bell at the back post who came up with a clinical volley, giving his side a dream start.

Nick Grimes added to City’s woes by doubling Taunton’s lead in the 20th minute. The Peacocks’ skipper capitalised on the Clarets’ indecision from a corner, when the visiting side failed to clear their lines from the set piece. Grimes produced a well-placed shot which rattled off the crossbar and into the back of the net.

First half substitute Samir Carruthers, who replaced the injured Cameron James in the 17th minute, helped get the Clarets back into the game before half time when his cross from the left-hand side fell into the path of Jermaine Francis. Francis, just inside the Taunton penalty area, mis-hit the ball when he first attempted to strike it. The no.7’s second bite of the cherry went better though, with his 35th minute volley finding the target and going past goalkeeper Lloyd Irish who remained rooted to the goal-line.

In the second half City were the dominant side, controlling possession as they played downhill on the sloped Wordsworth Drive pitch. Irish made some decent stops to deny the Clarets a route back into the game sooner; getting across his goal quickly to tip Samir Carruthers’ shot from distance behind for a corner. Irish also denied Josh Castiglione in the 87th minute after the winger latched on to George Alexander’s flick-on, but after being set through on goal one-against-one, Castiglione was unable to find a way past Irish.

A Clarets equaliser finally arrived in added time courtesy of top goalscorer Charlie Ruff. Freddie Hockey flicked a header on into the path of Ruff, who took his time while surrounded by players in the penalty area before producing an excellent strike across goal and into the top corner of the net.

Simpson’s side weren’t done there though, and went on to earn maximum points in the final moments of the game when Charlie Ruff got the final touch on a corner delivered by Carruthers, sparking jubilant celebrations between the City players and travelling supporters.

After 3rd place Braintree fell to a 1-0 defeat against table-toppers Yeovil Town, City have extended their points advantage at 2nd place in the National League South table to eight points. The Clarets return to action next week on Good Friday against Dartford.

Taunton Town XI: Irish (GK); Bell, Grimes © (Tabu-Minzamba 55’), Ball, Chamberlain, James, Jarvis, Stearn (Grubb 74’), Evans, Day, Dolman (Bolton 85’).

Unused substitutes: Slough, Brown.

Yellow cards: Grimes, Chamberlain, Irish.

Chelmsford City XI: Gray (GK); Barnum-Bobb © (Wordsworth 90’), Jenkins (Carruthers 17’), James, Brookes; Watts, Ochieng (Alexander 76’); Francis, Ruff, Castiglione; Hockey.

Unused substitutes: Marsden (GK), Dunne.

Yellow cards: Barnum-Bobb.

Match Officials: Phillip Eddie, (Referee), Nathanael Wormleighton, (1st Assistant), Adam McAnoy (2nd Assistant).

Attendance: 1371

Report by Jake Dixon

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