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01.11.2010 at 19:45 Melbourne Park Attendance : 738
Chelmsford City
1 - 1
St Albans City
Referee : Charles Breakspear (Walton) Blue Square Bet South-match

Anthony Cook (77) Harry Beautyman (58)
Opening squads
James Pullen
Ben Nunn
Oliver Rowe
Adam Tann
Sami El-Abd
Mathew Lock
Takumi Ake
John Martin
Sam Higgins
Anthony Cook
Billy Bricknell
Paul Bastock
David Deeney
James Fisher
Peter Smith
Adam Everitt
Ryan Frater
David Hutton
Harry Beautyman
Rob Magwood
Robbie Martin
Jean-Michel Sigere
Grant Cooper
Mark Haines
Ricky Modeste
James Mulley
Stephen Reed
Sean Shields
Inih Effiong
Adam Martin
Glodi Kweme
Ross Dedman
Mark Haines --> Adam Tann (64)
Ricky Modeste --> Sam Higgins (67)
Stephen Reed --> John Martin (72)
Inih Effiong -> Jean-Michel Sigere (62)
Ross Dedman -> Rob Magwood (67)
Adam Martin -> Robbie Martin (90)
Yellow cards
Ricky Modeste (90) Rob Magwood (20)
Harry Beautyman (68)
Red cards
None None.
Match report
St Albans City survived a sustained a late siege on their goal at Melbourne Park on Monday to gain a creditable Conference South point with a 1-1 draw that ended Chelmsford City’s all-conquering home record.

Although on the back foot for much of the second half the Saints’ performance was a marked improvement upon recent games and the mystery deepens as to why Steve Castle’s side continues to give its better performances away from Clarence Park.

After an encouraging opening 45 minutes, in which City shaded the balance of play, St Albans took the lead through the combination of recent acquisitions David Hutton and Harry Beautyman, with the latter netting his first goal for the club.

Chelmsford hit back strongly but with the St Albans defence attacking the ball positively, and superbly led by captain Ryan Frater, the Essex side struggled to create clear chances.

Castle made two changes from the side beaten by Ebbsfleet on Saturday with Hutton, who was with Cheltenham Town last season but most recently has been training with Leyton Orient, and Robbie Martin coming in for Inih Effiong and Sean Shields.

Hutton flitted in and out of the game but when on the ball showed plenty to suggest he can strengthen a midfield that has struggled to make an impact this season.

City, beaten in just one of their previous five away league games this season, were first to show with Beautyman whipping in a teasing cross that almost caught the home side napping before being headed clear by former City trialist Ben Nunn.

Chelmsford’s response was swift with Takumi Ake getting the better of Robbie Martin and sending over a cross that Frater dived full length to head clear.

Although lacking in goalmouth excitement the opening 15 minutes boosted St Albans confidence as they comfortably matched Glenn Pennyfather’s high flying Clarets and but for an unfortunate slip by Jean-Michel Sigere, following Frater’s excellent ball through the middle of the home defence, the Saints may have gained an early lead.

And the Chelmsford defence enjoyed a fortunate escape on 16 minutes when David Deeney – rightly restored to midfield – sent a good header goalwards from a Hutton corner that home keeper James Pullen knew little about as it struck his leg on the goal-line before being cleared.

The visitors threatened to self-destruct two minutes later when Paul Bastock and his defenders became embroiled in a most vocal disagreement after Chelmsford striker John Martin was afforded far too much space for a shot that he wastefully drilled well wide.

Another chance went begging when Sami El-Abd headed well wide when not picked up at a corner while Bastock made a fine save to hold on to Sam Higgins powerful angled drive.

Just before the half hour the attention of the crowd was diverted by a loud burst of firecrackers outside the stadium that sent a whole cluster of frightened pigeons swooping low across the pitch.

The diversion seemed to work in Chelmsford’s favour as Ake went on a wonderful weaving run past two defenders before Frater slid in with a firm challenge that saw the ball ricochet off Ake who fell to the ground as the ball went out for a goal kick.

City were taking a long time to bring Hutton into the game out on the Saints left but five minutes from the break the former Spurs man played a neat one-two with Sigere deep inside the St Albans half before charging down the flank and sending over a good cross to Robbie Martin who really should have hit the target with his first time effort from 18 yards but spooned the ball several yards wide.

Hutton’s increasing influence on the game became evident just prior to the interval when he clipped a wonderful right-footed free kick a hairsbreadth wide from 20 yards out.

While the locals were none too impressed with the performance of the Clarets during the opening 45 minutes the small band of travelling St Albans supporters found plenty to warm themselves during an early winter’s night at Melbourne Park.

Chelmsford came out for the second half in a far more positive frame of mind than seen before the interval as they now looked to impose their game on that of their lowly visitors and for ten minutes it did appear as though St Albans faced a most testing 45 minutes.

On 50 minutes Frater headed a Matthew Lock corner back out to the Chelmsford midfielder whose second cross was a dangerous low swinging ball towards the edge of the six yard box that Bastock, with players all around him, did well to dive towards and punch away for another corner.

The pressure was maintained when Frater spectacularly sliced an attempted clearance over his own crossbar and moments later Higgins deftly touched a Nunn pass into the path Lock who screwed his shot wide of Bastock’s goal.

Just when it seemed as though St Albans could be overrun Castle’s boys popped up with an excellent goal on 58 minutes, the first the Clarets have conceded at home this season.

Hutton received the ball down the Saints left and cut into the penalty area before chipping an enticing cross to the back post where Beautyman, with a perfectly timed run, stormed in to beat Pullen with a powerful header.

Just after the hour St Albans made their first change with Effiong sent on to replace Sigere while Chelmsford were forced to withdraw skipper Adam Tann with a head injury after an accidental clash with Rob Magwood.

The unpredictable Effiong had his first chance midway through the half when set up by Beautyman but the strikers ground shot lost all of its power following a deflection and Pullen gathered in ease.

A minute later both sides made a second change. The lively Ricky Modeste came on in place of Higgins for the home side while Ross Dedman was sent on for his second league appearance of the season as Magwood stood down.

Modeste should have pulled Chelmsford level on 70 minutes after Billy Bricknell delivered a stunning ball through the heart of the City defence that left the dreadlocked substitute with just Bastock to beat.

Fortunately for the Saints Modeste was uncertain where to go and as he attempted to push the ball to the keeper’s left Bastock was down in a flash to grasp the ball to his body and end the danger.

Even after Pennyfather completed his changes with Stephen Reed replacing John Martin the likelihood of a Clarets equaliser, despite a lot of pressure, seemed to receding but with 13 minutes remaining a rare blip by Bastock enabled Chelmsford to get back on level terms.

A corner was partially cleared to Cook whose shot from around 20 yards through a crowded penalty area appeared to be covered as Bastock fell to his left but somehow the ball squirmed under the keeper’s body and into the goal.

Now City were in a scrap and Bastock quickly atoned by spreading himself well to block Cook from point blank range. The ball bounced around the goalmouth like a pinball before being cleared.

Nine minutes from time Bastock put Peter Smith in an awkward position with an ill-judged throw to the City left-back. Modeste disposed Smith and Bricknell freed Lock but again the midfielder was denied as Bastock used his legs to good effect.

Chelmsford now attacked in waves and another excellent chance went begging when Cook and Modeste worked the ball across the edge of the penalty area to the free Lock whose attempted placed shot with his instep flew a couple of yards over the St Albans goal.

On 88 minutes Beautyman led a swift counter-attack through the middle of the park and fed Effiong who exchanged passes with Robbie Martin before sending a tame effort wide if the target.

In the 90th minute Beautyman won City’s first corner of the second half that Hutton curled outwards from the near post with Deeney sending a good header just wide of the target.

Referee Charles Breakspear did his best to keep the tension boiling by playing over six-and-half-minutes of added time during which the Clarets won three corners.

Chelmsford wildly slashed two shots high over the goal and the game ended with Bastock smothering Bricknell’s shot after Adam Everitt had headed away the Clarets ninth corner of the half.
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