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05.09.2009 at 15:00 Melbourne Park Attendance : 1122
Chelmsford City
2 - 0
St Albans City
Referee : Paul Harris (Maidstone) Blue Square South-match

Antonio Murray (22)
Robert Edmans (86)
Opening squads
Craig Holloway
Matthew Lock
Danny Bunce
Steve Ward
Ben Martin
Dave Rainford
John Martin
Anthony Cook
Antonio Murray (76)
Danny Hocton (66)
Ricky Holmes
Michael Emery
Alex Bailey
James Fisher
Luke Thurlbourne
Mark Peters
Adam Everitt
Ryan Frater
James Quilter
Gary Cohen
Craig Calver
Drew Roberts
Robert Edmans
Mark Haines
Jamie Hand
Ricky Modeste
Ashley Harrison
Jamie Thurlbourne
Darren Quinton
Danny Green
Daniel Chillingworth
Craig Mortimer
Robert Edmans -> Danny Hocton (66)
Ricky Modeste -> Antonio Murray (76)
Jamie Thurlbourne -> Adam Everitt (43)
Daniel Chillingworth -> James Quilter (46)
Danny Green -> Craig Calver (68)
Yellow cards
Danny Bunce (60)
Dave Rainford (90)
Adam Everitt (10)
Luke Thurlbourne (21)
Drew Roberts (42)
Red cards
None None.
Match report
St Albans City hopes of picking up their first away Blue Square South point since drawing with Chelmsford City at the Sports Arena on Easter Monday floundered again at the same ground on Saturday as Glenn Pennyfather’s side strolled to a comfortable 2-0 win.

In succumbing to their first defeat in Chelmsford for 34 years St Albans also suffered a fifth successive away defeat and have now scored just once in open play on their travels this season.

Against such a background it is hardly surprising that manager Steve Castle sounded exasperated as he confessed to be still looking for the permutation that will bring his side some goals.

In an attempt to end the goal drought Castle gave on-loan Southend United striker Craig Calver his first start, at the expense of Danny Green, while Daniel Chillingworth returned to the side at the start of the second half as City took to the pitch with four strikers on show.

Such attacking intent looks good on paper but when that quartet has amassed just one goal in open play so far this season – eight games – then clearly the Saints have a problem. The game was a particular disappointment for Gary Cohen who was not only unable to celebrate his 50th game for the club in style but also extended his barren goalless run to 15 games.

With suspensions ruling out Paul Bastock and Solomon Shields, the Saints were forced into making changes. Former Rushden & Diamonds youngster Michael Emery replaced Bastock between the sticks while James Quilter was pushed forward into midfield as assistant manager Mark Peters made his first start at centre half alongside Ryan Frater.

Adam Everitt was recalled to left-back at the expense of Jamie Thurlbourne. But Everitt’s return from suspension was hardly triumphant as he collected a booking inside ten minutes and had to be replaced by Thurlbourne just before the interval after picking up an injury to his left ankle following a clash with Anthony Cook.

Chelmsford, with one point from their previous five matches, also made changes with Mark Haines, Jamie Hand and Rob Edmans making way for summer signing Danny Hockton, striker Antonio Murray and the current Saints Player of the Year Ben Martin, who also moved to the spacious Sports Arena in the close season.

On a chilly afternoon the game made a lively start with Ricky Holmes trying his luck inside ten seconds but shooting well wide. Holmes was closer on 14 minutes with a fine effort from an acute angle that clipped the top of the net but never really troubled Emery.

In between those two efforts City had a scare when Clarets left-back Daniel Bruce curled an in-swinging free kick across the face of the goal when just the merest touch would have had the visitors in trouble.

Both sides played some enterprising football during the early exchanges with Chelmsford looking just about the best footballing side St Albans have faced in the early weeks of the campaign. That said, the second half was a tedious, mistake ridden 45 minutes of grim football.

Luke Thurlbourne’s fluctuating start to the season took a downward turn on 21 minutes when the midfielder was booked for a foul on Holmes that was nothing more than a mistimed challenge; the yellow card was harsh to say the least.

And one minute later the fortunes of the whole team dipped as Chelmsford opened the scoring when Murray stretched to carefully guide the ball wide to the left of Emery from 12 yards for his first goal for the club following Cook’s through ball.

St Albans could offer precious little in front of goal to deny the Essex side its first clean sheet of the season, twice Ben Martin shrugged Cohen off the ball as if to demonstrate the difference in physical strength between the two sides.

An easy catch by home keeper Craig Holloway from a looping header by Cohen, following a chipped ball into the goalmouth by Luke Thurlbourne, was just about visitors best effort during the opening 25 minutes.

Chelmsford skipper Dave Rainford tested teenager Emery with a firm drive from 25 yards, the youngster gathered the ball safely, before Drew Roberts called Holloway into action with a decent drive from around 30 yards.

Castle sacrificed Quilter for striker Chillingworth for the restart but the second half never found any pattern to entertain the second highest Conference South attendance of the day.

Holloway had to be alert to catch under the crossbar an overhit free kick by Jamie Thurlbourne while Rainford again forced Emery to save from distance.

The match took a significant twist on 66 minutes when the giant Edmans came off the bench to replace Hockton just moments after the Chelmsford striker felt the studs of Ryan Frater’s boot down the back of his right leg.

Twenty-two year old Edmans quickly unsettled a City defence that had looked reasonably solid until this point. Even so, it was St Albans who, jut 12 minutes from time, won the first corner of the half.

Jamie’s Thurlbourne’s cross was headed behind by Edmans for another corner and when Roberts met this deep cross, again whipped in by Thurlbourne, with a far post header penalty appeals for handball against Cook were ignored.

But St Albans best chance of salvaging anything from the game came and went when Frater laid the ball out to Jamie Thurlbourne on the left on the half way line.

With a tremendous diagonal pass covering some 50 yards the left-back planted the ball onto the head of Cohen whose cushioned header ought to have been headed home by the diving Chillingworth but instead was placed just wide of the target.

Emery survived an anxious moment when rising with Edmans to catch a cross from Holmes but the Saints keeper was beaten for a second time on 86 minutes.

Edmans exchanged short passes just outside the penalty area with the exciting Ricky Modeste before neatly sidestepping his way into the18-yard box and shooting, right-footed, high to Emery’s right for a spectacular goal.

A minute later Edmans got away from Frater but was thwarted by Emery while just before time the Saints custodian could only look on in relief as Holmes glorious drive from 35 yards smashed into the crossbar.

City’s disciplinary problems continue to grow with Luke Thurlbourne collecting his fourth booking of the season, just one more yellow card will lead to a one-match ban.

The FA have confirmed that Jamie Thurlbourne will serve a one-match suspension following his dismissal against Hampton, while James Fisher has been handed a two-game ban.

Goalkeeper Paul Bastock is likely to return to the side for Tuesday’s visit to Clarence Park by Staines Town after being suspended for the trip to Chelmsford. Solomon Shields with miss both the Staines and Havant & Waterlooville matches through suspension.

Adam Everitt, injured at Chelmsford, is rated as doubtful for Tuesday’s game.
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