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12.10.2002 at 15:00 Clarence Park Attendance : 718
St Albans City
1 - 0
Chelmsford City
Referee : Adam Denfield FA Cup / 3rd QF-match

Miguel De Souza (82)
Opening squads
Duncan Roberts
Dominic Naylor
Derek Brown
Leon Townley
Miguel De Souza
Ryan Moran
Jon Challinor
Scott Oakes
Simon Martin
Beckett Hollenbach
Rob Kean
Paul Nicholls
Brian Statham
Ian Couzens
Lee Kersey
Ian Wiles
Danny Slatter
Garry Cross
Mike Rutherford
Tony Samuels
Phil Gray
Ausin Berkley
Richard Wilmot
Corey Campbell
Rob Gould
Gary Sippetts
Craig Mackail-Smith
Kris Lee
Sam Keevill
Ben Fuller
Steve Sanders
Barry Lakin
Craig Mackail-Smith -> Simon Martin (79)
Rob Gould -> Ryan Moran (85)
Kris Lee -> Ian Couzens (90)
Sam Keevill -> Danny Slatter (85)
Ben Fuller -> Tony Samuels (71)
Yellow cards
Rob Kean (44)
Red cards
None. None
Match report

Cup fever grips The Park as Saints welcome Chelmsford in the F.A.Cup 3rd Qualifying Round. A fine sunny Autumn afternoon following heavy rain overnight and a very grey morning.

Chelmsford are 14th in The Doc Martins Premier League, and are managed by Paul Parker the former Manchester United and England player. Amongst their ranks are former Saints, Nicky Gyoury and Richard Hurst, who weren't in the squad today, and Junior Samuels who started. Up front is Phil Gray, formerly with Luton, in whom City expressed no interest last week. This won't be easy today.

The Dynamic Duo retained Roberts D. in goal, 4 at the back: Moran, Brown (C), Townley and Naylor; 4 in the middle: Oakes, Challinor, Keen and Hollenbach; and up front Martin and De Souza. On the bench were Gould, Sippets, Mackail-Smith, Campbell and Wilmot. In the stand were the injured Smith and Crawshaw (back next week, perhaps), the suspended Castle (available for the next game) and Chelsea's John Terry. Your correspondent can exclusively confirm that there was no illegal approach to this player nor was he on a scouting mission in case City meet Chelsea at Cardiff next May. He is a chum of one of the Chelmsford players. Sportingly, he signed a number of autographs.

This was not a classic. The visitors had the better of the opening exchanges but City created more chances and just shaded the first half. I recall 3 crosses from the left which skidded across the Chelmsford six yard line which eluded the Chelmsford defence and the City strikers, a couple of half chances from Moran and an Oakes free-kick from distance comfortably collected by the visiting keeper. At the other end, Roberts was less certain with several crosses but made one very good save from Gray and another from Samuels who was offside in the event. H.T. 0-0.

Chelmsford started the second half the livelier and spent much of the opening half hour camped in the City half. A combination of solid defence by the back four and poor final balls into the box kept the scoreboard goal-less. City were unable to break the pattern of play with the midfield defending deep, leaving the strikers starved of possession. With about 15 minutes left, Martin was replaced by Mackail-Smith, who brought real pace and committment up front. Chances were rare. Into the last 10 minutes and City fans were hoping for a replay on Tuesday. De Souza carried the ball into the penalty area on the right, appeared to be well-policed, but from the tightest of angles, sqeezed a shot between the keeper and two defenders inside the far post. 1-0. Chelmsford pressed to no avail. A couple of chances fell to Mackail-Smith who is clearly aching to score his first senior goal for the Saints. Not today. F.T. 1-0.

A win's a win, but this was a poor performance by City today. Once again, the midfield stuttered and the opposition midfield won most free balls in this area. Castle, who brings organisation and physical presence is sorely missed. Chelmsford will be very disappointed as, on position and possession, they deserved a draw. Their Nos 6 and 11 played particularly well. However, it didn't click up front for the visitors today. The Gods of the F.A.Cup smiled on St. Albans City. As a former Manager used to say: "Nobody likes us....and we don't care." The Duo will be delighted with a win. Who's next? Spurs or Arsenal? For me: Slough or Arlesey, at home, please.

The crowd was 839, with some 250 or so having made the trip from Essex. My MotM? Probably Naylor, or perhaps Mackail-Smith but he wasn't on long enough in reality. He's too young to drink the champagne anyway. I don't know who the sponsor selected.

Entertainment 6/10. Atmosphere 5/10. Technical Merit 5/10. Referee 6/10.

Match report by Homer
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