Chelmsford City return to National League South action as they travel to the Optima Stadium to face Weston-super-Mare AFC.
Both sides head into this weekend’s game after successfully reaching the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup during the last week.
City and Weston have also experienced similar success in the league so far this season, with the two teams currently separated by one point in the National League South table.
Weston’s 15-year tenure in the National League South came to an end in the 2018/19 campaign, when the club was relegated after finishing bottom of the table. Last season the Seagulls won the Southern League Premier South, meaning Scott Bartlett’s side earned a highly awaited return to the second tier of non-league football.
Despite being newly promoted, the Somerset-based club started this campaign like they’d never been away from the National League South after beating Havant & Waterlooville, Tonbridge, and Bath in their opening three league games. The Seagulls went on to experience a winless run of six league games after this promising start, but managed to get back on track with three points against Truro before returning to FA Cup action last weekend.
Like City have with Josh Oluwayemi, Weston-super-Mare also have an on-loan goalkeeper with EFL experience amongst their ranks, having signed Exeter City shot-stopper Harry Lee on a loan deal this summer. Lee featured once in League One for The Grecians last season. The 18-year-old has already impressed during his short spell in Somerset, having been named in the Non-League Paper’s National League South team of the week, following his clean sheet against Truro at the end of September.
Another key man for the Seagulls is centre back Lloyd Humphries. The Welshman joined the club from Cardiff in 2020 and was voted player of the year by Weston supporters for his role the club’s promotion winning 22/23 campaign. Humphries has represented his country on the international stage, playing for his nation at U16, U17, U19 and U20 level, including being involved in the 2017 Toulon Tournament squad.
One of Weston’s main goal threats comes from captain Dayle Grubb, who has notched up over 400 appearances across two spells at the club. Grubb earned himself a move to League Two side Forest Green Rovers in 2018 after regularly impressing in front of goal for Weston in the National League South. The Seagulls academy graduate returned to the Optima Stadium in 2020, finishing as the club’s top goal scorer in the recent 21/22 and 22/23 seasons.
Most recent meeting:
City’s last meeting against the Seagulls came in March 2019. The game ended 2-2, with a 10-man Weston side staging a heroic comeback after going two goals behind in the first half. Chris Whelpdale and Chez Issac’s goals gave the Clarets a half time lead, but Matthew Bower and Steve Jackson found the back of the net in the second half for Weston. Centre back Tom Harrison was sent off after his side halved City’s lead, adding a further sense of shock amongst the 979 watching at the Melbourne Community Stadium when they saw Jackson level the score.
Despite a disappointing result that day, the draw ensured City extended their unbeaten run against Weston to seven games.
Robbie Simpson will have a possible selection headache, following multiple good performances on Monday night.
This win against Bromsgrove marked the return of Cameron James after a spell on the sidelines, and the defender will be hoping to continue his comeback at the Optima Stadium this weekend.
Dave Winfield will miss out, following an injury he sustained last weekend. As well as that, whilst he’s starting to get the ball back at his feet, Louis Dunne is still on the road to recovery.
How to get to the game:
There is a supporters club coach running for this game.
If you’re travelling by rail this Saturday, you’ll need to travel to London Paddington station and take a train to Bristol Temple Meads, and then take another Great Western Railway service to Western-super-Mare.
The final direct service on Saturday from Wester-super-Mare to London Paddington departs at 22:10.
When travelling by car, it takes around three and a half hours to get from the Melbourne Community Stadium to the Optima Stadium.
How to follow the game:
Clarets fans can follow live updates about the game by following the club’s X (formerly known as Twitter) page: @OfficialClarets, where updates are made using #TheClarets.
Radio Clarets will be providing live audio commentary of Saturday’s proceedings at the Optima Stadium.
Post-match reports and interviews will be found on the club’s website, official social media channels and on ClaretsTV following the game.
Admission prices at the Optima Stadium are as follows:
· Adult: £14
· Concessions (Senior 60+, Student, Armed Forces, NHS Worker): £10
· Under 16s: £4.50
· Under U8s: Free
· Family ticket (Two adults, two U16s): £28
Words by Jake Dixon