CHELMSFORD CITY 2 COGGESHALL TOWN 1
By Steve Parker
Chelmsford City progressed to the semi-finals of the BBC Essex Senior Cup with a 2-1 win over Coggeshall Town.
Writes Matt Lee...
Aaron Cosgrave opened the scoring against his former employers on his first full start for the Clarets before Chris Whelpdale rose off the bench to double City’s lead in the second half.
Nmandi Nwachuku scored for the visitors within the final ten minutes, and could have levelled scores later on, but the Clarets held on to progress to the next round.
City boss Rod Stringer made wholesome changes to the side that beat Hampton & Richmond Borough as Nathan McDonald, Tom Wraight, Adrian Cascaval and Matthew Young were the only ones to be named from Saturday.
Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Kiran Khinda-John, Cascaval and Young formed City’s defensive quarters while Jonny Giles and Wraight took spots in the midfield flanks.
Max Porter and Amos Nasha returned to the starting eleven as a midfield pairing, while Cosgrave and Mikhail Kennedy were named as City’s strike partnership.
Despite the numerous changes Stringer had made, the Clarets boss had to make an enforced substitution within the first minute as Khinda-John was replaced by Chris Gregan due to injury.
Giles tested goalkeeper Danny Sambridge’s reactions early doors with a lofted cross from the left wing, but the Seedgrowers’ ‘keeper leaped high to tip it over the bar.
Having struggled to settle into the game, City soon began to let their experience and quality show. Cascaval’s long ball forward split the Coggeshall defence and allowed Giles to dart into space, the winger cleverly turned the ball across to Kennedy on the edge of the box; but the on-loan Charlton striker could not gain full control of the ball and eventually lost possession to Dexter Peter.
The visitors came close to opening the scoring shortly afterwards when Michael Gyasi used his pace to shrug off Cascaval on the right wing. Gyasi delivered a low cross into the box towards Ace Howell, but the petite striker had his snap-shot saved by the out-stretched McDonald.
Despite a well-contested opening half-hour, it was City who broke the deadlock through Cosgrave. Porter’s perfectly weighted ball sent the former Coggeshall Town striker bearing down on goal, the young striker took one touch to take the ball into the box before looking up and placing a right-footed effort around Sambridge into the far corner.
Porter came close to doubling City’s advantage two minutes later when he gathered up a half-clearance; however, his chipped effort hit the top of the crossbar.
As City looked to increase their lead over the visitors, City boss Rod Stringer opted for a tactical change as he swapped Wraight with Giles on the left wing.
Chelmsford were almost handed a second under fortuitous circumstances. Cascaval’s blocked freekick fell to Kenendy just inside the box, the tricky forward dinked a cross towards the near post where Sambridge almost fumbled over his own goal-line just before the interval.
Stringer looked to increase his side’s lead at half-time as he allowed Wraight to take a break from regular football by introducing Chez Isaac. Meanwhile, the visitors also made a change as Josh Moore replaced Curtis Haynes-Brown.
With chances mostly falling in City’s favour, it was no surprise when Giles took a gamble by shooting from distance; but the winger’s effort was always travelling high and wide of the top corner.
City felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Isaac was tugged down inside the area; however, the Clarets protests were to no avail as Coggeshall escaped punishment.
Neither side came close to scoring in a barren twenty-minute spell in the second half, but the visitors could have levelled when Howell’s strong shot took a wicked deflection off Cascaval and rocketed narrowly over the crossbar.
Chelmsford made their final change with fifteen minutes left on the clock as Nasha was replaced by Chris Whelpdale.
As the game slowly ticked towards its conclusion, it was the Clarets who remained more likely to score.
Cosgrave came close to grabbing a second goal for himself as he weaved his way between two defenders before seeing his effort take a deflection and slam into the post. But City’s advantage was doubled with twelve minutes remaining when substitute Whelpdale drifted to the near-post to flick a Giles corner past Sambridge.
Town made their final changes to the squad inside the final ten minutes; Tyler Brampton and Sam Bantick replaced Emmanuel Folarin and Syrus Gordon.
But the result was not quite over as Coggeshall mustered an instant response to Whelpdale’s headed goal. A lapse in concentration gave Nwachuku space to shoot and he obliged by sending a deft lob over McDonald to reduce the deficit with eight minutes still to play.
Cosgrave thought he had put the result beyond doubt with five minutes left as he chested Whelpdale’s fierce cross beyond Sambridge, but the ball was hit the far post and the Town ‘keeper recovered quickly to claw the ball from the line.
Nwachuku could have drawn Coggeshall level when he was handed the freedom of the City defence within two minutes of full-time, but the Town striker selfishly shot over and wasted his side’s last chance as the Seedgrowers bowed out of the Essex Senior Cup with their heads held high following a positive performance against higher-league opposition.