City Made to Settle for a Point Against Concord
By Scott Hatley
THE CLARETS dropped two more vital points in their promotion push as they drew 2-2 away at league strugglers Concord Rangers.
Despite the gulf in places between the two sides prior to kick off the home side took an early lead when Sam Collins was played in by Jordan Chiedozie on the counter attack to slot past Ross Fitzsimons.
Chelmsford responded well and deservedly levelled through Robbie Willmott’s thunderbolt from the edge of the area, and the Clarets were unfortunate not to go into the break in front after hitting both the post and cross bar either side of Willmott’s equaliser.
They did though take an early lead in the second half when former Claret, Marvin Ekpiteta tugged the shirt of Billy Bricknell to concede a penalty. Shaun Jeffers stepped up to squeeze his spot-kick past Jon Miles.
But with quarter of an hour to go Collins smashed home a free kick from distance with Fitzsimons out of position meaning the two sides had to settle for a point a piece.
The draw did mean that Chelmsford’s unbeaten league run was extended to 11 matches, but with leaders Maidenhead United dropping points at home to Hungerford Town it was an opportunity missed to gain some ground on the leaders.
There is little love lost between the two Essex rivals and despite Concord’s poor home record prior to the visit of Chelmsford, no one was going to be taking the Beachboys lightly.
Chelmsford were forced into three changes after last weekend’s 4-4 draw with Hemel Hemepstead, with the suspended Chris Bush and Shamir Mullings being replaced by Mark Haines and Shaun Jeffers, and Matt Young – who was missing out through injury – being replaced by Anthony Church as the Clarets set up in a 3-5-2 formation.
22 points separated the two sides in the league table going into the game, but the Clarets’ recent record at Thames Road left a lot to be desired and the visitors got off to the worst possible start when they went behind after just 11 minutes as Concord hit the Clarets on the break.
After Robbie Willmott’s corner was cleared at the second time of asking Concord broke with Jordan Chiedozie feeding Sam Collins who struck low and hard to beat Ross Fitzsimons and put the home side in front.
In front of a crowd of almost 900 – most of which were Clarets fans – Chelmsford reacted well and only a superb one handed save from Jon Miles prevented the Clarets levelling when Miles tipped Shaun Jeffers’ flick header onto the post before it was hacked away.
Chelmsford though did get their equaliser when a long throw from Bagasan Graham was laid into the path of Willmott by Billy Bricknell, allowing the winger to smash the ball into the top corner to level it up.
In truth it was a game of very few chances for either side, and both sides will feel a little hard done by that they didn’t go into the half time interval with a lead.
Concord felt unfairly done by an offside flag after good interplay between Steve Cawley and Rob Girdlestone allowed the latter to swing in a cross which was converted by Collins only for the linesman to rule it out for offside.
And having struck the post earlier in the half through Jeffers, Chelmsford came close again when Bricknell saw his header cannon off the crossbar, although it did appear to strike the arm of Concord’s James White on the way through.
The Clarets came out in the second half and had an almost immediate chance to go in front for the first time in the game when Bricknell was adjudged to have had his shirt pulled by Marvin Ekpiteta in the penalty area, winning a penalty.
Former Claret, Ekpiteta was booked and then had to watch as Jeffers found the bottom corner with his spot kick, despite the best efforts of Miles who got both hands to the strike but was unable to keep it out.
Concord were now having to chase the game and out of nothing they managed to get the equaliser and record only their second point at home all season as Collins grabbed his and Concord’s second of the game.
A soft free kick was given for an apparent foul by Mark Haines on Jordan Brown. Before Fitzsimons could build his wall, the referee had blown his whistle and Collins had no hesitation in smashing the ball in from 30 yards with Fitzsimons unable to get a hand on the strike.
Neither side were able to create a clear opening in front of goal after that which could have forced a winner and Chelmsford had to settle with a point ahead of two crunch games against Poole Town and Hampton & Richmond Borough.
1. Jon Miles
2. Rob Girdlestone
3. Jordon Brown
4. Jay Dowie
5. Marvin Ekpiteta
6. Cameron Norman
7. Audrius Laucys
8. James White (C)
9. Jordan Chiedozie
10. Steve Cawley
11. Sam Collins
12. Tony Stokes
14. Leon Gordon
15. Ben Wyatt
16. Steve King
17. Emmanuel Ighorae (On for Audrius Laucys 73’)
17. Ross Fitzsimons
2. Robbie Willmott
3. Mark Haines
4. Max Porter
5. Adam Bailey-Dennis
6. Phil Walsh
7. Josh Rees
8. Anthony Church (C)
9. Shaun Jeffers
10. Billy Bricknell
11. Bagasan Graham
12. Luke Daley (On for Bagasan Graham 21’)
14. Max Cornhill (On for Josh Rees 82’)
15. Frankie Merrifield (On for Billy Bricknell 82’)
16. Daniel Blanchett
18. Ashley Miller
Concord Rangers: Sam Collins 11’, 75’
Chelmsford City: Robbie Willmott 20’, Shaun Jeffers (p)49’
Concord Rangers: Jay Dowie 7’, Audrius Laucys 42’, Jordan Chiedozie 45+1’, Marvin Ekpiteta 48’, Cameron Norman 87’
Chelmsford City: Anthony Church 12’, Frankie Merrifield 90+2’
Referee: Aji Ajibola
Assistant Referees: Dele Sotimirin & Shaun Farrer
City Man of the Match: Robbie Willmott