Penalty Decision Mars Clarets Defeat
CHELMSFORD CITY’s unbeaten start to the league season came to an end as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to St Albans City at Clarence Park.
Rod Stringer though will look to the decision by referee Colin Lymer not to give a penalty to the Clarets for a foul on Shaun Jeffers as the turning point in the game, instead booking the City striker for a dive.
Having started so brightly the momentum was turned on it's head following that decision and City were being put under consistent pressure by the long throw of Lee Chappell which brought about the Saints opening goal from Ryan Johnson.
Chelmsford weren’t causing the Saints goalkeeper too many problems and fell further behind in the second half when a Ben Herd free kick was headed in by former Claret Ben Martin.
The Clarets were denied on two occasions by the linesman’s flag as both Max Cornhill and Phil Walsh had goals disallowed for offside, before Shamir Mullings’ late header gave Chelmsford hope of a comeback but it wasn’t to be for Stringer’s side as they suffered their first defeat of the season.
The result was the perfect response from the home side who were coming off of a 3-0 defeat to Bath City on Saturday which saw them finish the game with 10-men after Ben Herd was given his marching orders at Twerton Park.
The Clarets made just the one change to their starting 11 following the 1-1 draw with Dartford on Saturday with Hugo Skepelhorn coming in for Shamir Mullings.
The introduction of Skepelhorn sparked the Clarets into life on Saturday having been 1-0 down to Dartford early in the second half, and he was thrust into the action straight away with an early chance but the academy graduate failed to find the target after a low cross from Bagasan Graham.
Chelmsford started the game on the front foot and the bench were left in complete shock as Shaun Jeffers went down inside the penalty area after being taken out by Tom Bender. The referee though saw it the other way and unbelievably showed a yellow card to the City striker for simulation.
Rod Stringer and his staff were seething on the Clarets bench at that decision by Colin Lymer and it completely swung the momentum in favour of the home side.
St Albans' biggest threat was always likely to come from Lee Chappell’s long throws and the Saints almost took the lead when the one of the captain’s throws was headed against the crossbar by Ben Martin and was somehow headed wide by Junior Morias on the rebound.
The Clarets though were undone by a Chappell throw as they went 1-0 down just before the half hour mark after Ryan Johnson rose highest to guide his header into the bottom corner to give the home side the lead.
City were now the ones under the cosh and St Albans forced Welch into a smart save from Chappell after Dipo Akinyemi’s shot was blocked. The Saints then had a goal disallowed late on when Martin's header was ruled out for a foul on Joe Welch.
Chelmsford’s best chance came late in first half stoppage time when a deflected cross from the right had to be headed clear from under his own crossbar by Herd to keep the home side in front going into the break.
Shamir Mullings was brought into the action early in the second half as the Clarets went in search of an equaliser and he started the move that almost brought City level, spraying the ball out to the right for Robbie Willmott whose cross was headed in by Max Cornhill only to be flagged for offside.
Chelmsford’s task of retrieving a result from Clarence Park was made much harder by the second goal of the game going to the home side. Chris Bush gave away a free kick on the left hand side which was whipped in by Herd. Former Claret Martin rose to head the ball towards goal with Welch unable to prevent the ball bouncing past him and into the net.
The Clarets were now left with a mountain to climb and appeared to have not shaken off the disappointment of that penalty decision that wasn’t given so early in the game.
The next goal in the game was going to be crucial and James Russell was forced into making a double save shortly after seeing his side go 2-0 up, first parrying Mullings’ rasping shot before saving from Jeffers on the rebound with his feet.
You’d be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t going to be City’s night as Phil Walsh saw Chelmsford have a second goal disallowed for offside but they eventually did make a game of it as Mullings headed his third goal of the season after flicking in Bush’s long throw.
Chelmsford were left with 10 minutes to throw the kitchen sink at St Albans to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, but they were unable to force the ball beyond Russell for a second time and had to settle for a defeat on a disappointing evening.
St Albans City:
1. James Russell
2. Ben Herd
3. Tom Bender
4. Lee Chappell (C)
5. Ben Martin
6. Ryan Johnson
7. Shaun Lucien
8. Scott Thomas
9. Louie Theophanous
10. Junior Morias
11. Dipo Akinyemi
12. Matt Ball
14. Sam Merson (On for Shaun Lucien 65’)
15. Andrew Iwediuno
16. Ian Rees (On for Louie Theophanous 90+3’)
17. Rhys Hoenes
1. Joe Welch
2. Ashley Miller
3. Daniel Blanchett
4. Max Cornhill
5. Mark Haines
6. Chris Bush
7. Robbie Willmott
8. Anthony Church (C)
9. Shaun Jeffers
10. Hugo Skepelhorn
11. Bagasan Graham
12. Luke Daley
14. Jake Reid
15. Shamir Mullings (On for Hugo Skepelhorn 54’)
16. Phil Walsh (On for Mark Haines 34’)
19. Frankie Merrifield (On for Max Cornhill 73’)
St Albans City: Ryan Johnson 29’, Ben Martin 63’
Chelmsford City: Shamir Mullings 79’
St Albans City: Junior Morias (Foul 83’)
Chelmsford City: Shaun Jeffers (Simulation 12’), Joe Welch (Foul 77’)
Referee: Colin Lymer
Assistant Referees: Marcus Carmichael & Neil Templey
City Man of the Match: Robbie Willmott