Clarets Battle For Opening Day Draw
Chelmsford City and Oxford City played out an entertaining 2-2 draw on the opening day of the new Vanarama National League South season.
City took the lead on two separate occasions, but in total they lead the game for less than three minutes as Oxford quickly equalised on both occasions in a game that also saw a penalty for each side saved.
Hugo Skepelhorn would open up his account for the season with City’s first attempt on goal, only for Alehandro Adrian to equalise two minutes later, heading home a free kick.
The Clarets would then go ahead once again in the second half when Billy Bricknell dug out a cross from the by line, and after Laurie Walker was unable to gather Charlie Henry smashed the ball home.
This lead would last less than a minute as Bradley Bubb would then audaciously beat Ashley Timms from the half way line straight from kick off, but he wasn’t able to beat Timms from 12 yards as his penalty was saved.
Bricknell would then have a penalty of his own saved by Walker at full stretch to ensure that both sides went home with a point.
Chelmsford boss Mark Hawkes gave full debuts to six players with Ashley Timms, Harry Hickford, Rory McAuley, Luke Daley, Billy Bricknell and Charlie Henry all making the starting 11.
Oxford, fielding a number of new summer signings themselves, settled the quicker of the two sides and created the first clear opportunity in front of goal after quarter of an hour.
Bradley Bubb twisted one way and then the other to evade Michael Toner on the byline before sending in a low cross which was turned over from close range by Julien Lafuente who was under pressure from Harry Hickford.
Lafuente was then guilty of spurning Oxford’s best chance of the game on the half hour mark. A brilliant cross-field pass freed Alehandro Adrian on the left wing allowing him to play in a low cross into the box which found Lafuente, but with Timms stranded he blazed over.
It looked as though Oxford would rue that missed chance seconds later as Chelmsford took the lead through Skelephorn. A long ball from the back was flicked on by Skepelhorn into the path of Billy Bricknell who surged towards the byline. Skepelhorn followed his ball and powered into the box allow Bricknell to pick him out to tap in from close range.
City’s lead would last less than two minutes though as Oxford would immediately find a reply. A free kick from the right hand side was whipped into the area and headed passed Timms by Adrian to quickly level matters.
Chelmsford began the second half much better with Skepelhorn and Bricknell linking up well to almost create a couple of openings early in the half, and Bricknell’s hard work paid dividends as City retook the lead.
Bricknell chased down a long ball and managed to dig out a cross that tempted Laurie Walker off his line. The Oxford ‘keeper failed to gather and Charlie Henry smashed home the loose ball to put Chelmsford back in front.
Whereas City’s lead lasted less than two minutes first time around, this didn’t even last one as Oxford equalised immediately from the kick off. Bubb chanced his arm from the half way line straight from kick off and managed to beat Timms off the underside of the bar to level.
But Timms had a chance to make amends as Oxford were then awarded a penalty after Toner brought down Kynan Isaac in the box. Despite being able to beat Timms from the half way line, Bubb couldn’t beat Timms from 12 yards as the City ‘keeper guessed correctly, diving to his right to parry the ball away.
Chances were now coming thick and fast and City almost retook the lead for a third time after Rory McAuley – who was up for a free kick – dragged a shot across goal and found sub Bagasan Graham. Graham looked certain to score City’s third only for Adrian to somehow clear off the line.
Bubb would then find himself clear of the last defender, but with Timms off his line the Oxford striker couldn’t get the required lift to beat Timms playing it straight into his hands.
Chelmsford would then have their own opportunity to score from the spot after Lee Sawyer was brought down in the penalty area. Bricknell stepped up but his well struck penalty was saved brilliantly at full stretch by Walker to ensure the points were shared.
City next face Hemel Hempstead on Monday night at Melbourne Stadium.
1. Laurie Walker
2. Luke Coulson
3. Jose Lapoujade
4. Ander Del Alamo
5. Lee Henderson
6. Alehandro Adrian
7. Omari Sterling James
8. Darren Pond (C)
9. Bradley Bubb
10. Julien Lafuente
11. Carlos Picarre
12. Jamal Lawrence (On for Carlos Picarre, 81’)
14. Paul Stonehouse
15. Reece Fleet (On for Julien Lafuente, 62’)
16. Kynan Isaac (On for Omari Sterling James, 15’)
17. Jon Arzamendi
1. Ashley Timms
2. Harry Hickford
3. Michael Toner
4. Mark Hughes (C)
5. Marvin Ekpiteta
6. Rory McAuley
7. Luke Daley
8. Lee Sawyer
9. Billy Bricknell
10. Charlie Henry
11. Hugo Skepelhorn
12. Harry Morgan (On for Charlie Henry, 71’)
14. Jonah Gosling (On for Lee Sawyer, 90')
15. Bagasan Graham (On for Hugo Skepelhorn, 64’)
16. Marvel Ekpiteta
21. Connor Pearce
Oxford City: Alehandro Adrian 34’, Bradley Bubb 58’
Chelmsford City: Hugo Skepelhorn 32’, Charlie Henry 57’
Oxford City: None
Chelmsford City: Charlie Henry (Handball – 39’), Michael Toner (Foul – 69’)
Referee: Colin Lymer
Assistants: Marcus Carmichael & Michael Richards
City Man of the Match: Billy Bricknell