Another South-West trip for the Clarets brought them to Plainmoor to face Torquay United. Having last visited in the 2018/19 season, the Clarets hoped to take something home to Essex, with the 12 hour and almost 600 round mile trip. With both sides being mightily competitive, neither side would have wanted to be the ones to leave empty handed, but it was the Clarets to do so following late drama.
Much like recent games, Robbie Simpson made changes to his side. At the back, Ben Brookes returned to the starting side, replacing Frankie Terry. Across the midfield, with Eze Ebuzoeme suspended, Anthony Wordsworth returned to the side to partner Mo Dabre. Adam Mills and Josh Castioglione came in, as they were out wide. Carruthers and Ruff were in behind Callum Jones, with a strong bench. Bettamer was joined by Barnum-Bobb, Terry, Hockey and Callum Watts, with Jermaine Francis missing out having played for Grenada’s national team last night.
The Clarets got the game underway, under the scorching sun. The sun was glaring, with over 2000 fans packed into Plainmoor, with 44 travelling Clarets fans. They almost saw their side take the lead, as Adam Mills charged up the left. He put an early cross in towards Callum Jones, where the striker angled an effort at gal, causing Mark Halstead to make a good save. Carruthers took the following corner, where Halstead was once again involved as he punched clear and out of his box. A few minutes later, Josh Oluwayemi was called into action at the other end. Dave Winfield misplaced a back pass, as Bradley Ash was one on one. Oluwayemi smothered Ash’s shot, making a great save and preventing Ash from getting the easy goal. However, he was beaten less than 60 seconds later. This time, Bradley Ash had the ball in the back of the net. Jack Stobbs was able to put a challenging ball across the box, which he did to find Ash at the back post. He finished calmly, before the linesman’s flag ended the Torquay celebrations.
The pressure was on, as Aaron Jarvis was slipped through and had a great chance. He looked to square it, before an excellent Ben Brookes tackle blocked any attempt from Jarvis. But, Jarvis was presented with an open goal, which he subsequently squandered, hitting the post. The next real chance came the way of the Clarets, as Dabre was in. Samir Carruthers drifted into space and fed the Clarets’ number 7 through, who then hit wide of Halstead’s goal. He was then called into action, as the Clarets put together some great passes. Carruthers started the move, seeing it work its way to Charlie Ruff. He found Callum Jones, who smashed goalward but saw the experienced shot stopper parry his effort away, making a good save.
With the extortionate heat, a drinks break came for all, whilst Adam Mills was receiving treatment. The Clarets had threatened but were also welcoming to Torquay possession. The hosts were unable to cut through the Clarets, seeing Bradley Ash have to get creative. He drove at Jenkins, before deciding to cut inside and have a go. He bent his effort towards Josh Oluwayemi’s goal but just wide of the post, much to Oluwayemi’s relief. With neither side finding the decisive strike, 4 added minutes came. Once again, there was no real chance for either side to break the deadlock, as a highly competitive first half was brought to a close.
HALF TIME: TUFC 0-0 CCFC
The Clarets looked to start the second half fast, but it was Torquay who got an early chance. A great chance fell for Jack Stobbs, before a wayward touch meant he failed to capitalise. After surviving an early scare, the Clarets looked to be dangerous at the other end of the pitch, as some more good play came. Samir Carruthers was involved once again, laying the ball to Mo Dabre. He saw Charlie Ruff in the box, finding him. He sent an effort over the bar, with his head in his hands after missing a great chance.
The Clarets were made to pay, as Torquay took the lead just 10 minutes into the second half. A corner was swung in and headed clear, where Brett McGavin struck. It was an extraordinary strike, as he saw his effort fly into the top corner, past Oluwayemi to give the hosts the lead. No keeper in the world would have been able to stop the strike, as the Clarets now had to find a way back into the game. Robbie’s men continued to play their free-flowing football. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb darted forward, supported by Samir Carruthers. He found him, and the midfielder broke into the Torquay box, unleashing an effort only to be blocked. It went for a corner, where a deep delivery was to no danger, going out on the far side. Another water break came in the second half, with the Clarets continuing the pressure afterwards. Anthony Wordsworth came incredibly close, rattling the crossbar. Mo Dabre played the ball across to him and Mark Halstead was left with no chance, seeing the bar save him. However, the Clarets did find themselves level, with just 5 minutes to go.
Samir Carruthers whipped a free kick into the channel of uncertainty, where Mark Halstead came and punch the ball away. It fell to Brookes, who took on his man, beating him. He was on the edge of the box, and struck low and hard, beating everyone and scoring his second Chelmsford City goal, the first for the season. The Clarets were back into it, and pushing for the winner. However, as we entered the 6 added on minutes, it was not to be. The 93rd minute brought a questionable free kick, where the delivery flicked off Samir Carruthers’ head and in. The own goal left the Clarets distraught, after a fantastic performance. Controversy almost ensued following the conclusion of the game, with Aaron Jarvis and Dave Winfield’s feud continuing down the tunnel. However, it really was not to be for the Clarets, after a tough fought performance ended in an emptied handed trip home.
FULL TIME: TUFC 2-1 CCFC
Oluwayemi (GK), Brookes, Wordsworth, Winfield (C), Dabre, Carruthers, Mills (Bettamer 68’), Jenkins, Jones, Ruff, Castiglione (Barnum-Bobb 62’)
Unused subs: Terry, Hockey, Watts
Goal: Brookes 85’
Cautions: Winfield 26’, Dabre 76’, Spillane (Assistant Manager) 90+6’, Drew (Head of Recruitment) 90+9’
Halstead (GK), Lapslie, Marshall, Jarvis, Ash, McGavin (Ryan Hanson 76’), Donnellan, Jenkins Davies, Moxey (C) (Martin 79’), Tomlinson, Stobbs (Collins 88’)
Unused subs: Pearce, Lovett
Goals: McGavin 55’, Carruthers OG (90+4’)
Cautions: McGavin 30’, Jarvis 45’, Moxey 67’
Words By Josh Lowe
Cover image by Roger Robinson Photography