Chelmsford City FC V Wealdstone FC, The Isuzu FA Trophy Fourth Round, Melbourne Community Stadium, Saturday 13th January 2024, 3:00pm kick-off.
National League side Wealdstone stand in-between Chelmsford City and a place in the last 16 of the FA Trophy, as Robbie Simpson’s side look to beat an opponent from the division above for the second consecutive round, after overcoming Oxford City in Round Three.
The Stones will be looking to avoid the same fate they suffered in the FA Trophy last season, when a 2-1 defeat to the Clarets at Melbourne Community Stadium saw Stuart Maynard’s side eliminated from the competition in the Third Round.
Here’s all that City supporters need to know ahead of this weekend’s clash…
Team & match stats:
· Chelmsford City are looking to record their third consecutive competitive win against the Stones.
· Wealdstone are without a clean sheet in their last three competitive matches played against the Clarets.
· Stuart Maynard recorded his first win in a FA Trophy game as Wealdstone manager when his side beat Billericay last month, setting up this weekend’s Fourth Round tie. This also marked Wealdstone’s first FA Trophy win since January 2021.
“Wealdstone are a real shining light to what we can do in the future. For them to get promoted and do what they’ve done in the National League over the past few years is remarkable. I’m in real admiration of them,” said Chelmsford City manager Robbie Simpson, when looking ahead to this weekend’s game following his side’s win at Worthing.
Simpson’s high praise for the Stones comes as the club continues the steadily impressive rise it has experienced in recent years. Since their promotion from the National League South as Champions in 2019-20, the Ruislip-based side have gone on to consolidate their place in the top tier of Non-League football. Last season’s 13th placed finish marked the club’s highest league finish for 36 years, underlining the stability and improvement manager Stuart Maynard has brought to Grosvenor Vale since taking the managerial reins in 2021.
Maynard has continued to take Wealdstone forward this season, with the Stones currently in a strong position to secure their 5th consecutive campaign of National League football, as the club currently sits 12th in the division. The backbone of Wealdstone’s comfortable season has been their impressive home form, which has seen them only taste defeat once at Grosvenor Vale in the league during 23-24.
Wealdstone have experienced less joy on the road though, and they hold the joint-weakest away record in the National League so far this season. Despite this, they experienced a rare fruitful away day when the game determining the Clarets’ Fourth Round opponents was finally played. The Stones’ Third Round clash against Billericay was originally scheduled to be played at Grosvenor Vale, but was called off three times due to a waterlogged pitch, meaning the match was eventually held in Essex at Billericay’s home ground instead.
Maynard’s side beat Ricay 4-1 at New Lodge, confirming that the Clarets would face Wealdstone in the FA Trophy for a second consecutive season. The win marked Maynard’s first victory in a major domestic cup (counting the FA Trophy & FA Cup) since he was named as the Stones’ permanent boss back in March 2021. Everyone at Wealdstone will now hope for another taste of cup success when they visit Essex again this Saturday.
FA Trophy rules:
The Clarets will play their third FA Trophy game of the season this weekend, after entering the competition in the Second Round. Wealdstone and their fellow National League sides entered the FA Trophy in Round Three.
If the score remains level after 90 minutes, then FA Trophy ties go straight to penalties with no extra-time being played.
Robbie Simpson is allowed to name a maximum of seven players on the bench in FA Trophy matches, of which he may bring on three during the game.
Cameron James missed last Saturday’s win at Worthing through injury, and the defender will continue to be assessed ahead of this weekend’s match.
Robbie Simpson will be forced to watch his side from the stands, as the Chelmsford boss serves the first of a two-game touchline ban starting this weekend.
Striker Mo Bettamer continues his recovery from a recent injury.
Ticket prices for Saturday’s game are as follows:
· Adults: £15
· Concessions/Senior 65+: £10
· Student (17-24 with valid ID): £5
· Youth (12-17): £5
· Child (U12 with accompanying adult): Free
How to follow the game:
Radio Clarets will be providing live audio commentary of proceedings at the Melbourne Community Stadium.
Clarets fans can find pre-match coverage of Saturday’s game, and live updates of proceedings in Essex by following the club’s X (formerly Twitter) page: @OfficialClarets and Instagram page: chelmsfordcityfc.
Post-match reactions will be found on the club’s website, official social media channels and on ClaretsTV.
Words by Jake Dixon.