We reached expectations in exiting the FA Cup at the Fourth Qualifying Round, but we’re a couple of places up on our expected finish in the league. After a lengthy journey back from Woking (made longer by reflecting on defeat), we board the bus again for an even longer mid-week trip to Chelmsford.
Chelmsford City Lineup:
Chippenham Town Lineup:
Odds: Chelmsford City=6/4, Draw=2/1, Chippenham Town=13/8
Referee: Mr. Will Finnie
We may be away from home, but we’re keen to put the last result behind us and ensure a more enjoyable journey home. Hussein Mohammed in particular seems keen to ensure this, firing a shot just wide from 18 yards in only the 2nd minute of the game.
Chelmsford are doing well in the league and certainly don’t want to be pushed back on their home turf. Four minutes after Mohammed’s effort, Whelpdale sends in a cross from the right. The cross finds Fenwick 3 yards out at the far post and he heads towards goal. Brad House scrambles across the goal well and is able to tip Fenwick’s header onto the bar. The ball falls to Chiedozie, who is left with a simple tap in. Or so it seems. Enter Kieran Parselle. He magnificently tackles Chiedozie and clears the ball to safety.
It’s a warning to us that Chelmsford pose a threat to our goal. A threat repeated in the 12th minute when Fenwick passes to Reason. From 20 yards out, Reason hits a low curling shot. It turns out that Chelmsford are doing more than threatening as Reason’s shot beats House’s dive and nestles in the bottom left hand corner to give the hosts the lead.
We don’t react by taking the game to them, but they don’t make an immediate effort to push on. Whelpdale continues to cause us problems and he sends in another excellent cross in the 31st minute. As earlier, his cross finds Fenwick. Fenwick is 6 yards out this time and his header leaves House rooted to the spot. Whilst House has no chance, Fenwick was unable to get over the ball completely and head it down, so he is forced to watch the ball thud against the crossbar. As before, Parselle is alert to the danger and clears our lines.
Parselle is having an excellent game at the back, mopping up rebounds to prevent Chelmsford extending their lead. His afternoon takes a turn for the worse in the 42nd minute when he holds onto the ball for too long and gets robbed by Chiedozie, who snaps off a shot from 18 yards that House is able to watch fly over the crossbar and into the fans behind the goal.
Reason gets booked by Mr. Finnie on the stroke of half time and we enter the dressing room one goal down again. I gee the lads up and send them out for the second half. It’s probably not my best half time effort because 5 minutes into the half, Chelmsford are knocking on the door again. Once again, it’s a cross from the right that causes us trouble, but this time it’s Reason providing the ammunition for Fenwick. Fenwick is 10 yards out and heads the ball. He doesn’t need to worry about the crossbar denying him this time because he heads wide of House’s goal.
Chelmsford continue knocking on the door and in the 54th minute, they win a free kick 30 yards out. Wraight strikes it over the wall and it’s dipping. But not enough and it clips the crossbar on the way over. I’m not happy with what I’ve seen since the break and things need to change, so Seika Jatta comes on for Mohammed in the 63rd minute as we look to change the flow of the game.
The change doesn’t appear to have the desired impact and in the 65th minute, Curtis McDonald plays what can only kindly be called a suicidal ball across our area. Fenwick pounces on the awful ball and fires first time from 18 yards. Luckily, House has read the situation well and is able to push the ball behind for a corner.
A miracle happens with 20 minutes to go – we’re going forwards! George Rigg advances down the right and sends in a cross towards the far post. It’s heading towards Jordan Adekunle, who doesn’t receive the cross because he’s down on the ground. Mr. Finnie’s whistle blows. Penalty! Yan Klukowski sets the ball down, retreats a few steps, takes a deep breath and waits for Mr. Finnie’s whistle.
Truth be told, it’s not a great penalty from Klukowski. It’s low, but very close to Bishop; it actually goes underneath Bishop’s dive. However, it’s in for Klukowski’s 8th goal of the season, so who cares how good the penalty is. All that matters is that we’re level. It’s undeserved, but we’re 20 minutes away from an unlikely point. Or potentially more…
Seven minutes after levelling, Terrique Anderson comes on for Compton on the right wing. Anderson is a loan signing – apologies for not mentioning his loan signing when I made it. Not too sure how I missed him out. Two minutes later, Tendai Matinyadze passes the ball to Jatta. Jatta is on the penalty spot and his back is to goal. He turns and fires, forcing Bishop into a smart save at the expense of a corner.
With nine minutes remaining, Giles swings in a corner to the near post. Whelpdale rises highest and heads from 6 yards out. Whelpdale’s header flashes just wide of House’s near post. Two minutes later, Reason hits a long ball forward and… well.
I mean… it’s… well, words fail me. We haven’t played well, but that? Total disbelief. But there’s still time.
In the 86th minute, Matinyadze lays the ball off to Klukowski. If anyone is going to rescue us a point, it’s Super Yan. He’s 25 yards out, but that kind of distance is no problem for him. He lets fly and Bishop is worried. Bishop can’t get to the ball, but he doesn’t need to worry as the shot goes just over Bishop’s bar and there ends the action.
Chelmsford City Ratings:
Wraight 6.7, Chiedoze 6.4, Sangha 6.8
Chippenham Town Ratings:
Compton 6.4, Mohammed 6.4
League Position: 10th
Once again in the league, we haven’t played well, but came close to snatching an undeserved point. Whilst we can have no complaints about returning home empty handed, the manner in which we conceded Chelmsford’s winner was painful (especially for Parselle). Granted there was still time, but it was the kind of goal that I instantly knew we were not going to recover from conceding. We could do with a good performance in front of the fans at Hardenhuish Park on Saturday.
Having failed to introduce Terrique Anderson when I signed him on loan from Charlton Athletic (apologies again, not sure how I managed to forget that), may I present attacking midfielder/striker Terrique Anderson!
It seems as though there’s a practical joker at the club. Gareth Keenan knocks on my door and lets me know that someone’s put his football boots in jelly.
Read from The Chips Are Town #1