Two More Points Dropped as City Gift Bath a Draw.
DEFENSIVE ERRORS from the Clarets cost them two more points as they let the lead slip twice in a 2-2 draw against Bath City at Twerton Park.
After only arriving at the ground half an hour before kick off the Clarets defied their poor preparations by going in front in just the third minute when Shaun Jeffers converted from the penalty spot after a foul on Shamir Mullings.
Bath equalised midway through the first half when Chris Bush failed to clear his lines allowing Tyler Harvey to pick out the unmarked Marvin Morgan at the far post to head the home side level.
Much like the first half Chelmsford made the ideal start after the break, scoring after just four minutes of the second half when Jeffers was allowed to turn in the six-yard box and score from a Robbie Willmott corner.
But with 10 minutes remaining and with the Romans applying the pressure Mark Haines inexplicably tried to chest the ball back to Ross Fitzsimons, only for Andy Watkins to steal in and loop the ball into the net.
It is now four times in their last five matches that the Clarets have let a lead slip to draw in the league as their poor run of form continued, with them now only picking up four points out of their last 15 available, seeing them slip outside the play-offs for the first time since September.
Bath City’s Twerton Park has not exactly been a happy hunting ground for the Clarets who have now failed to win in Somerset in any of their last eight visits.
And it looked like the footballing gods were once again acting against them as some questionable decisions from the Club’s coach drivers meant that Rod Stringer’s men arrived at Twerton Park just 30 minutes before kick-off.
Chelmsford were forced to make-do as referee Matty Buonassisi chose not to delay the kick off, but City didn’t look too put off by their lack of preparation time as within three minutes they were in front.
A speculative prod forward by Robbie Willmott was hunted down by Shamir Mullings who got in front of Manny Monthe, with the centre half tugging away at the City number 10 the referee pointed to the spot.
Shaun Jeffers confidently stepped up to take the penalty, stroking the ball down the middle as Max O’Leary dived to his left, giving Chelmsford an early lead.
Stringer commented last week after the draw with Hampton & Richmond that his side didn’t look like one that could keep a clean sheet and as Bath went in search of an equaliser the Clarets looked susceptible to crosses into the box.
Goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons was forced into a brilliant one handed save when Andy Watkins’ corner went all the way through to Monthe at the far post, whose header on target was stopped by the strong left hand of Fitzsimons.
There was little Fitzsimons could have done though about Bath’s equaliser midway through the first half although Chris Bush will certainly feel he could have done more to prevent Marvin Morgan levelling the match.
Billy Murphy’s long ball down the right wing was picked up by on-loan Plymouth man Tyler Harvey who was under pressure from Bush. City’s centre half though got next to nothing on the ball as Harvey skipped past his man before looping a cross into Morgan to head in from close range.
Both sides had half chances to grab a second in the opening 45 minutes with Jack Batten having a couple of headers go narrowly over the bar for the hosts, and both Bush and Mullings seeing efforts go marginally wide.
Having scored early in the first half the Clarets repeated the trick in the second half as Jeffers grabbed his and Chelmsford’s second of the game.
Willmott’s out swinging corner from the left-hand side fell perfectly to the feet of Jeffers who, despite having his back to goal and being inside the six-yard box, managed to turn and easily find the back of the net from a matter of feet to put City in front once more.
The Clarets had let leads slip late on in three of their last four league outings prior to their trip to Bath, and with plenty of time left on the clock the Romans went on the front foot in search of another equaliser.
Daniel Blanchett was forced into evasive action when Watkins dug out a cross towards the back post looking for Naby Diallo, but Blanchett done extremely well to head the ball away whilst under pressure and win a free kick for his side.
Mark Haines had the best opportunity for the Clarets to extend their lead when the ball fell to the City centre-back after a scramble in the area, but the far from prolific Haines was unable to stop his shot from being blocked.
And that wasn’t to be Haines’ only contribution to the game as up the other end of the pitch he played a major part in Bath grabbing an equaliser through the impressive Watkins.
George Grigg whipped a cross into the area from the right-hand touchline which Haines felt he could chest down to his goalkeeper Fitzsimons with no one around him. However, the chest down went more back across goal than backwards with Watkins reacting quickest to dink the ball over Fitzsimons and find the bottom corner.
Yet again Chelmsford were made to make do with a point when three seemingly were there for the taking. The Clarets had one final chance late, late on to nick it when a perfectly weighted pass by Max Porter found the run of Willmott who rounded O’Leary but, off balance, failed to find the target.
1. Max O’Leary
2. George Grigg
3. Dan Ball (C)
4. Jack Batten
5. Manny Monthe
6. Billy Murphy
8. Lee Marshall
9. Tyler Harvey
10. Marvin Morgan
11. Andy Watkins
12. Naby Diallo
13. Steve Phillips
14. Shaquille Hunter
15. Chas Hemmings (On for Naby Diallo 63’)
16. Josh Hutchinson
17. Andrew Elcock
1. Ross Fitzsimons
2. Ashley Miller
3. Daniel Blanchett
4. Max Cornhill
5. Chris Bush
6. Mark Haines
7. Josh Rees
8. Anthony Church (C)
9. Shaun Jeffers
10. Shamir Mullings
11. Robbie Willmott
12. Max Porter (On for Shamir Mullings 80’)
14. Elliot Buchanan (On for Max Cornhill 66’)
15. Billy Bricknell
16. Adam Bailey-Dennis
18. Luke Daley
Bath City: Marvin Morgan 25’, Andy Watkins 80’
Chelmsford City: Shaun Jeffers (p)3’, 49’
Bath City: Dan Ball 16’, Manny Monthe 61’
Chelmsford City: Anthony Church 35’, Ashley Miller 55’
Referee: Matty Buonassisi
Assistant Referees: Daniel Lamport & Benjamin Williamson
City Man of the Match: Shaun Jeffers