Bricknell's Brace Gives Clarets Victory
TWO BILLY BRICKNELL strikes fired the Clarets to a 2-1 win over St Albans, extending the Saints’ winless run to six matches.
Bricknell opened the scoring two minutes before the break with a well-taken goal just as the Saints began to test the home side.
Luke Allen, James Comley and Billy Medlock all went close with testing efforts from range, but Bricknell broke the deadlock following Christian Dibble’s punt up-field.
Louis Theophanous then brought the two sides level after the re-start with a well worked goal before Bricknell was on hand to tap home Hugo Skepelhorn’s cross.
Entering into this match on the back of a damaging 4-2 loss to Whitehawk, Clarets’ boss Mark Hawkes made three changes to his starting line-up. Dibble was handed his City debut in goal having joined from Barnsley following Ashley Timms’ departure, while Marvel Ekpiteta and Bagasan Graham made way for Mark Haines and Skepelhorn, who netted City’s second from the penalty spot last weekend.
After Saturday’s first-half capitulation – which saw Chelmsford 3-0 down inside 22-minutes – it was crucial that the Clarets made a composed and assured start to the game. They did just that with Dibble being vocal in between the sticks and Rory McAuley leading the back-line and making decisive clearances when necessary.
City’s ball in the final third was somewhat lacking in the game’s primitive stages, however, with Billy Bricknell attempting to hold the ball up on the wing, but support was lacking.
The hosts soon became a little more threatening in the wide areas though with Luke Daley showing the most promise. He won a corner that Aiden Palmer whipped in, causing Joe Welch to flap at it before Mark Hughes miss-kicked at the far post, and then should’ve netted the opener himself when put clean through.
Skepelhorn put the ball on a plate for Daley – taking the whole Saints’ defence out of the equation with a delightful through ball – but the Clarets’ winger failed to get his attempt on target as he dragged wide.
That miss almost proved costly when St Albans won a free-kick on the right-wing moments after. Skipper Lee Chappell’s dangerous set-piece was nodded over by Ian Gayle after the centre-back found himself unmarked in the box.
The Saints then almost broke their three game goal drought when Steve Comley let fly on a shot. The former England C man picked the ball up 25-yards from goal before launching an effort towards Dibble. The Barnsley loanee tipped the goal-bound effort over the bar at full-stretch, the first time he was called into action.
Dibble was then left rooted to his spot when Louis Theophanous cushioned a cross into the path of Billy Medlock, although the striker’s effort kept on rising and didn’t trouble the City ‘keeper.
Lewis Hilliard blazed over from another considerable distance as the Saints eased their way into the latter stages of the first-half.
For all their effort they found themselves trailing two minutes before the break. Dibble saved Luke Allen’s driven effort before the keeper pumped a ball over the top to find Bricknell on the counter-attack. The striker then kept his nerve after Ian Gayle miss-judged the flight before dispatching past Welch to hand City a valuable lead when the Saints were on top.
After the stadium rose for a touching minute’s applause to honour the late Trevor Hales, the match burst into life.
The Saints were soon level when Louis Theophanous found enough space to squirm a shot into the near post following a neat turn inside the area.
Jimmy Gray's men weren’t level for long though as Billy Bricknell added his second of the match four minutes later. Daley played the ball out wide to Skepelhorn who slide a perfectly weighted ball to the back post. Bricknell was then on hand to force the ball home past Welch to restore City’s lead and double his tally for the afternoon.
The Clarets were then forced to grind out a result after the rain poured down, making the conditions a little more testing.
Substitute Jonah Gosling made an immediate impact when his teasing cross from the left was almost turned in by the Saints’ skipper Chappell.
With both sides making plenty of substitutions the pace of the game quickened as the Saints looked to grab a late leveller but they were forced to go home empty handed, their fifth straight loss.
1. Christian Dibble
2. Mark Haines
3. Aiden Palmer
4. Mark Hughes (C)
5. Marvin Ekpiteta
6. Rory McAuley
7. Luke Daley
8. Harry Morgan
9. Billy Bricknell
10. Hugo Skepelhorn
11. Lee Sawyer
12. Laurence Vaughan
14. Bagasan Graham
15. Jonah Gosling (On for Lee Sawyer, 74’)
16. Mason Bloomfield (On for Hugo Skepelhorn, 84’)
21. Connor Pearce
St Albans City:
1. Joe Welch
2. John Kyriacou
3. Lee Chappell (C)
4. Scott Thomas
5. Ian Gayle
6. Darren Locke
7. Luke Allen
8. James Comley
9. Louis Theophanous
10. Billy Medlock
11. Lewis Hilliard
12. David Longe-King
14. Gassimu Sow (On for Scott Thomas, 52’)
15. Simon Thomas (On for Billy Medlock, 64’)
16. Jack Green
17. Kevin Krans (On for Luke Allen, 54’)
Referee: Mr Christopher Pollard (Stowmarket)
Assistant referees: Mr George Laflin and Mr Richard Hart
Bookings: Chelmsford City: None
St Albans City: Scott Thomas (47’, foul)
Scorers: Chelmsford City: Billy Bricknell (43’, 60’)
St Albans City: Louis Theophanous (56’)
HT Score: 1-0
FT Score: 2-1
City Man of the Match: Billy Bricknell