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29.08.2015 @ 15:00 Melbourne Park Attendance : 595
Chelmsford City
2 - 1
St Albans City
Referee : Chris Pollard (Stowmarket) Varnarama National League South-Match

Goalscorers
Billy Bricknell (43)
Billy Bricknell (60)
Louie Theophanous (56)
Starting Line-ups
Christian Dibble
Mark Haines
Aiden Palmer
Mark Hughes
Marvin Ekpiteta
Rory McAuley
Luke Daley
Harry Morgan
Billy Bricknell
Hugo Skepelhorn
Lee Sawyer
Joe Welch
Lee Chappell
John Kyriacou
Scott Thomas
Darren Locke
Ian Gayle
Lewis Hilliard
James Comley
Luke Allen
Billy Medlock
Louie Theophanous
Substitutes
Laurence Vaughan
Bagasan Graham
Jonah Gosling
Mason Bloomfield
Connor Pearce
David Longe-King
Jack Green
Kevin Krans
Ghassimu Sow
Simon Thomas
Substitutions
Jonah Gosling -> Lee Sawyer (74)
Mason Bloomfield -> Hugo Skepelhorn (84)
Ghassimu Sow -> Scott Thomas (53)
Kevin Krans -> Luke Allen (55)
Simon Thomas -> Billy Medlock (64)
Yellow cards
None Scott Thomas (47)
Red cards
None None.
Match report

Louie Theophanous scores for Saints.
After a wait of almost 400 minutes St Albans City had a goal to celebrate but a 2-1 National League South defeat to Chelmsford City at the spacious Melbourne Park stadium on Saturday confirmed the Saints disastrous start to the season as the worst in the City’s 107 year history.

One point from six games and just two goals in the credit column are statistics that tell their own story and joint-managers Graham Golds and Jimmy Gray have never needed a win more than they do in Monday’s Bank Holiday derby with Hemel Hempstead Town at Clarence Park.


Defeat could leave City chasing the pack ridiculously early in the season while a much-needed three points will ease the pressure on an under-performing squad.


There were moments in Saturday’s mundane reversal that suggest that City could be about to turn the corner with Chelmsford forced to defend in depth but, in reality, the lack of penetration in the Clarets penalty area contributed to the Saints fifth consecutive defeat.

Louie Theophanous continues to dominate City’s list of goal scorers, in that he has scored both of St Albans two league goals, and given decent service he looks to be the Saints best hope of avoiding a season-long battle against relegation.

Substitute Gus Sow, for the second week, demonstrated that he too could be a highly influential figure.

The Liberian uses the ball extremely well and moves forward positively with smooth fluidity, that he did not start Saturday’s game was something of a surprise.

Former Crystal Palace youngster Sow is a tremendous prospect; it is those around him that have made a complete pig’s ear of City’s start to the season.

Chelmsford made four changes from the side that lost 4-2 at Whitehawk in their previous outing and responded with an attacking burst in a generally uninspiring opening 45 minutes.

Billy Bricknell sent a free kick fizzing over the City goal inside six minutes while a corner followed by two throw-ins kept St Albans pinned back deep inside their own half.

On 17 minutes Luke Daley flashed an angled drive across the face of Joe Welch’s goal but the Clarets offered precious little serious threat to the Saints goal.


Slowly but surely St Albans established a foothold in the game and went close with Ian Gayle heading over from a Lee Chappell free kick, while a powerful left-footed shot from 25 yards by James Comley was superbly tipped over by the debut making home keeper Christian Dibble.

The visitors had an anxious moment when Welch went a long way from his goal but failed to connect properly when looking to punch away an Aiden Palmer free kick.

Mark Haines volleyed the falling ball into the middle of the penalty area but the alert Scott Thomas cleared City’s lines with a header.

Lewis Hilliard, who many suspected would be side-lined after a poor start to the campaign, whipped over a low corner that clipped the outstretched leg of Chelmsford skipper Mark Hughes and flew across the front of the goal.

Following a swift counter-attack St Albans maybe should have registered their first away goal of the season on 36 minutes.

Luke Allen, back after missing one game with an ankle injury, surged forward and spread the ball wide to John Kyriacou before cutting a return pass into the penalty area.

Theophanous failed to control the deflected cross but, inadvertently, nudged the ball into the path of Billy Medlock who, a touch wastefully, blazed it over the target from 15 yards.

The chances continued to come the way of the Saints and when Darren Locke broke up a Chelmsford attack Hilliard ran from inside his own half to drill a good shot just over Dibble’s goal.

Hilliard, with a smattering of useful contributions, gave what was his best performance to date in a St Albans shirt but one would hope that the 24-year-old still has a lot more to offer.

The half looked set to end on a positive note for the Blues when Allen, on 43 minutes, beat Palmer to a loose pass by Harry Morgan and drove an angled shot low towards the far corner of the net but Dibble got down to save in relative comfort.

Allen was given an earful by some for not passing the ball inside to the unmarked Medlock and that possible misjudgement was compounded when the usually dependable Gayle missed Dibble’s kick down the park and Bricknell was allowed to break clear.

As the Clarets striker steadied himself Locke dived in but the Saints defenders attempt to block the shot only helped to loop the ball high to the right of the diving Welch and into the back of the net.

It was a cruel setback for the struggling Saints.

After a quiet start to the second half St Albans small band of supporters went through a multitude of emotions in a seven minute spell that saw their side draw level, fall behind again and lose two players through injury.

Scott Thomas, harshly booked by the otherwise excellent referee Chris Pollard, departed through injury on 53 minutes and was followed two minutes later by Allen as his ankle gave way again.

Sow replaced Thomas while Frenchman Kevin Krans, signed just 24-hours earlier, took Allen’s place.

But after a wait of a mere 393 minutes there was good news to be had with the rare sight of a St Albans City goal.

Welch rolled the ball out to the right to John Kyriacou and from his short pass inside Comley launched the ball long to Theophanous, with a cushioned touch the striker sent Medlock darting across the pitch.

The former Sutton player slid a good pass to Hilliard whose low cross brushed the leg of Hughes and was controlled by Theophanous who moved inside Palmer and shot low inside Dibble’s left-hand upright with a left-footed shot.

In the minutes following the goal St Albans appeared the most likely side to go on to collect all three points, but on 60 minutes it went horribly wrong once more as Chelmsford broke at speed to condemn City to another defeat.

With a break of three-on-three City looked to add a second goal but on the hour Medlock, under pressure from Haines, lost his footing and conceded possession softly.

The ball was quickly laid wide to Daley and from his excellent pass along the deck down the right Skepelhorn burst clear of the Saints backline.

The former Chelmsford Academy striker arrowed a stunning diagonal low cross to the back post that evaded both Kyriacou and Welch, and left Bricknell to slide in to score his third goal of the season.

Just after the hour St Albans replaced Medlock with Simon Thomas but it appeared that the heart had been knocked out of the Saints and threats to the home goal quickly diminished.

At the other end of the pitch Skepelhorn just failed to turn in a Daley cross, Rory McAuley headed wide after climbing all over Gayle and Bricknell was just unable to apply a firm header to a cross by Jonah Gosling as his hat-trick beckoned.

It mattered not for Chelmsford who saw out the closing minutes in comfort and rose to eight in the table while St Albans remain firmly rooted just one place off rock bottom.

The Saints busy weekend sees them back in action on Monday, 31 August, for the visit of Hemel Hempstead Town in a National League South fixture. Kick off is at 3pm and segregation will be implemented on the terraces for this fixture.
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