Clarets unbeaten run comes to an end
Chelmsford City's unbeaten run in the Vanarama National League came to an end as they were beaten 2-1 by St Albans City.
Kudus Oyenuga’s 86th-minute goal was not enough to inspire a comeback after Kieran Monlouis and Layne Eadie gave the hosts a 2-0 lead at half-time.
Monlouis found space inside the area to shoot past Sam Beasant, albeit with a deflection, before Eadie doubled the Saints’ lead late in the half with a calm drilled shot.
Oyenuga created some hope for the Clarets with his rushed shot going in late in the second half, however it was too little too late as City’s seven-game unbeaten run was brought to an end.
Chelmsford boss Rod Stringer named an unchanged side to the team that drew 2-2 with Braintree Town on New Year’s Day, Matthew Johnson and Max Porter both remained unavailable due to a respective injuries while Tom Hitchcock remained outside the squad.
Shaun Batt came close in the preliminary stages as he fired a warning shot wide of Dean Snedker’s goal from Chris Dickson’s chest down, however the Clarets were unable to convert their early pressure into an opening goal.
But the hosts took advantage of poor defending as they took the lead against the run of play on 17 minutes. A period of intricate passing saw the Saints attack without any defensive challenge and when Monlouis found space inside the box he struck past Beasant with the assistance of a deflection.
City searched for an equaliser with three strikers up-front, however their numerous chances failed to fall over the line. Dickson glanced a header wide from Oyenuga’s awkward cross before Anthony Church’s double shot was blocked by Tarik Moore-Azelle.
Dickson almost found himself through when he reeled onto Batt’s knock-down, however Percy Kiangebeni tracked the City striker quickly. David Noble fizzed a cross into the box where Harvey Bradbury nodded wide.
As time wore on City failed to take control in midfield, being over-run in the centre of the pitch. CIty's lack of control in midfield eventually led to the Clarets entering the half-time interval 2-0 behind. A lack of pressure from Stringer's side allowed the hosts to pass quickly once again, Noble’s forward pass found space for Eadie to run onto and the full-back calmly shot beyond Beasant to double St Albans’ lead.
The second half opened as quickly as the first and City should have pulled a goal back when Dickson latched onto Batt’s through-ball, however the striker was unable convert as his shot trickled wide.
Chelmsford’s first player change in order to try and find a goal was made on 52 minutes as City boss Rod Stringer replaced Batt with Jonny Giles.
St Albans searched for a third goal to consolidate their lead however they twice came close without conversion. Monlouis cut inside on the edge-of-the-box before dragging wide, then Noble passed wide to Eadie who shot straight into Beasant’s hands.
A curling shot from Monlouis around Omozusi was held by Beasant as City made a second change, introducing Lee Barnard for Chris Dickson after an hour’s play.
With just over twenty minutes left Stringer made his final change, swapping Bagasan Graham for Daniel Green.
The hosts had very loud calls for a penalty denied after Craig Braham-Barrett seemed to hand-ball, however they were waved away and City almost took advantage however Oyenuga shanked over with Barnard near-by.
Church headed over from close-range as he reeled onto Davies’ freekick before moments later Davies had another deep freekick bounce twice in the Saints’ area as they threatened to find the net.
The Clarets had a superb chance to score with nine minutes left as substitute Green’s first-time cross was smacked well over by Oyenuga.
But with four minutes left Chelmsford finally found the back of the net. Church headed down a deep cross inside a crowded area, Oyenuga reacted quickest and managed to poke the ball home to create a lifeline.
Barnard came close to getting a late equaliser for the Clarets however his shot was well blocked before the game went into the five minutes allocated at the end of the half.
City entered those final minutes still searching for a second goal, but it was the hosts who came closest to converting towards the end. The hosts felt hard done by referee Rob Whitton when substitute Rhys Murrell-Williamson was denied an added-time penalty after being felled in the area, however time had long ago run out and City’s unbeaten run of seven League games came to an end in Hertfordshire.
St Albans City:
1. Dean Snedker
2. Ben Herd
3. Tom Bender
4. David Noble
5. Tarik Moore-Azille
6. Percy Kiangebeni
7. Layne Eadie
8. Solomon Sambou
9. Charlie Walker
10. Kieran Monlouis
11. Harvey Bradbury
12. Rhys Murrell-Williamson (67’ on for Charlie Walker)
14. Dernell Wynter
15. Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick
16. Tom Gardiner
17. Harold Joseph
1. Sam Beasant
2. Craig Braham-Barrett
3. Bagasan Graham
4. Elliot Omozusi ©
5. Michael Spillane
6. Chris Smith
7. Scott Davies
8. Anthony Church
9. Kudus Oyenuga
10. Chris Dickson
11. Shaun Batt
12. Lee Barnard (63’ on for Chris Dickson)
14. Jonathan Giles (52’ on for Shaun Batt)
15. Daniel Green (68’ on for Bagasan Graham)
16. Michael West
18. Mark Haines
[i]St Albans City:[i/] Kieran Monlouis (17’), Layne Eadie (44’).
[i] Chelmsford City:[i/] Kudus Oyenuga (86’).
[i]St Albans City:[i/] Ben Herd (83’).
[i] Chelmsford City:[i/] Chris Smith (41’).
[i]St Albans City:[i/] None.
[i] Chelmsford City:[i/] None.
Match Officials: Rob Whitton, assisted by Christopher Horsman and Aaron Farmer.
Half Time Score: St Albans City 2-0 Chelmsford City
Full Time Score: St Albans City 2-0 Chelmsford City