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04.10.2014 at 15:00 Clarence Park Attendance : 694
St Albans City
0 - 2
Chelmsford City
Referee : Michael Daguilar (Cannock) Vanarama Conference South-match

None. Michael Cheek (46)
Yado Mambo (49)
Opening squads
Joe Welch
Lee Chappell
Ben Martin
Tom Ward
Sean Shields
John Kyriacou
Charlie Gorman
Steve Wales
David Keenleyside
James Comley
John Frendo
Nicky Eyre
James Love
Leon Redwood
Mark Hughes
Mark Haines
Yado Mambo
Lee Sawyer
Joe Ward
Luke Callander
Michael Cheek
Nicky Nicolau
Tom Coulton
Lee Clarke
James Kaloczi
Darren Locke
Danny Green
Rohdell Gordon
Harry Morgan
Sam Gregory
Christian Smith
Niklas Freund
James Kaloczi -> David Keenleyside (68)
Lee Clarke -> Steve Wales (73)
Sam Gregory -> Luke Callander (71)
Harry Morgan -> Michael Cheek (86)
Yellow cards
Joe Welch (9)
John Frendo (89)
Yado Mambo (89)
Sam Gregory (90)
Red cards
None. None
Match report
St Albans City recent run of good form came to an end on Saturday as Chelmsford City struck twice inside the opening four minutes of the second half to clinch a 2-0 victory at Clarence Park and maintain a one hundred percent Conference South winning record at the Saints Victorian home.

The Saints looked a sorry XI long before the final whistle yet, for most of the first half and certainly the opening stages, they looked more than capable of continuing their push towards the summit of the table.

Speaking shortly after the game, joint-City manager James Gray said that he had gone into this match, and then Monday’s local derby at Boreham Wood, looking for two wins and a place at the top of Conference South.

Sadly, his message fell on deaf ears in the dressing room.

Had St Albans led at the interval against Chelmsford it would not have been unjust, but had they salvaged a point after a dreary second half performance then it would have been a gross miscarriage of justice.

As for Chelmsford, they were cagey early on but once ahead they were a different proposition and the struggles of last season look to have been fully consigned to the pages of history.

City made three changes from the side started in the FA Cup against Hayes and Yeading the previous week.

Out went central defender Darren Locke, midfielder James Kaloczi and striker Lee Clarke, as Tom Ward, David Keenleyside and John Frendo all received recalls.

The match started in miserable wet conditions but the football was fast and furious.

St Albans, attacking the Hatfield Road goal, were quickly into their stride with Keenleyside flashing a shot narrowly wide of former Saint Nick Eyre’s goal.

Moments later John Kyriacou played a ball wide to Steve Wales whose low cross was collected by Frendo.

The City striker skipped past Yado Mamba and looked to have scored only for Clarets skipper Mark Haines to rescue his side with a stunning sliding block for a corner.

The pressure was maintained with Lee Chappell playing the resulting corner short to Kyriacou whose cross to the back post was headed over the by Saints captain and former Chelmsford defender Ben Martin.

Having been under the cosh for ten minutes Chelmsford relieved the pressure with an ugly big punt forward by Haines that fell behind the home defence and sent Luke Callander clear.

The Clarets leading striker just managed to get his head to the ball before being unceremoniously flatted by the advancing Saints keeper Joe Welch.

Referee Michael D’aguilar immediately pointed to the penalty spot and, perhaps generously, let Welch off with just a yellow card, maybe because Callendar’s header actually rolled wide of the goal.

Michael Cheek struck the penalty kick cleanly to Welch’s left but the City keeper pulled off a quite brilliant fully extended push onto the woodwork.

Chelmsford may have lost a clear opportunity to grab a lead but they did move forward with better fluency after that incident.

St Albans also remained a threat with Charlie Gorman shooting wide from distance while Joe Ward ended a good run with powerful shot towards the home goal.

As the game moved beyond the half hour mark City lost their earlier sparkle with the midfield, so assertive during the early stages, now misplacing too many passes. And in front of goal the Saints had little more than half chances against a strong Chelmsford backline.

Frendo forced Eyre to dive low to left to save before a flowing Chelmsford move led to Welch palming a stinging drive by James Love out for a corner, while Mark Hughes headed a deep cross onto Welch’s woodwork.

As the interval drew near both sides had good chances to seize the initiative.

Kyriacou almost opened his account for the Saints when bringing down a good ball out to the right from Gorman. The right-back switched to his left foot from which he comprehensively beat Eyre with a curling effort that drifted just wide of the target.

Chelmsford responded with a good through ball by Nicky Nicolau that sent Callander clear only for him to shoot high over the target.

The Saints final chance of the half saw Frendo, with his less reliable right foot, scoop a shot over the goal after Eyre had only partially punched away a cross by Wales.

St Albans could have hardly have started the second half more sluggishly and Chelmsford required barely ten seconds to open the scoring.

Martin and Tom Ward struggled to clear their lines and Cheek was allowed to simply walk the ball into the penalty area before slipping it low past Welch for his seventh goal of the season.

Chelmsford now went for the kill and, on 49 minutes, won three corners in quick succession.

From the third of which, Joe Ward’s corner from the Clarets left was returned to him and this time his near post cross was firmly headed home by the unchallenged Mambo for his first goal for the visitors.

Bright sunshine now engulfed the Park but for City there was only darkness and their mood almost worsened when Ward cut a low cross to Cheek whose stabbed effort was saved by Welch.

Sean Shields was just one of several City players to struggle for form on the day, but with one piece of wizardry he turned Love inside and out before sliding a low cross to Frendo whose not cleanly struck shot clipped the diving Mambo before being smothered by Eyre.

Shields also tested Eyre with a low effort late on but it was already evident that Chelmsford were on the way to a third consecutive win.

The City player to suffer most disappointment must, surely, have been James Comley. Just days after receiving an England call-up the midfielder endured a particularly quiet afternoon as Paul Fairclough, manager of the England C team, looked on.
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