By Scott Hatley
In front of a bumper crowd of almost 1500 on Non-League Day, Smith’s half volley into the top corner just before the half time interval was all that separated the two sides.
Bromley though will curse their missed opportunities as Danny Waldren had the chance to level from the penalty spot early in the second half only to blaze high and over the bar.
But despite the host’s continued pressure in the second half on the Clarets back line, Mark Hawkes’ side held on to record a superb 1-0 victory on the road.
The performance and result against one of the league’s title favourites was the perfect riposte to the side’s disappointing defeat at home to Staines Town last weekend.
Following the departure of Glen Southam to Sutton United in midweek, manager Mark Hawkes shuffled his pack by bringing Lee Sawyer inside as part of a five man midfield which also included the return of Christian Smith and Nicky Nicolau.
New signing Yado Mambo was also given a place in the starting line-up – although Hawkes failed to bow to calls to give him the number five shirt – alongside Mark Haines and the two worked well early on as Bromley looked to feed Adam Birchall and Damien Scannell up front.
Chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges, with Ali Fuseini’s poor effort from the edge of the box the best chance for either side in the opening half an hour.
Scannell though missed the first clear opening of the game after 33 minutes. After Chelmsford were unable to clear, the ball fell kindly for the striker who dragged his shot horribly wide from six yards out.
City goalkeeper Nicky Eyre was called into action moments later when Moses Ademola fed Birchall whose low effort was parried by the Clarets ‘keeper only for Birchall to then drag wide the rebound.
But out of nothing Chelmsford took the lead after 42 minutes with their first effort on target. After a break in play for an injury to Bromley captain Rob Swaine, a long throw from Joe Ward was flicked on by the head of a Bromley defender. The flick fell perfectly for Smith to swing a right foot at the ball, curling it into the top corner past the unsighted Seb Brown to give Chelmsford the advantage.
Having gone into the half time interval with a lead for the first time this season, the Clarets boss would have wanted a composed start to the second half from his side, but he saw anything but as Pierre Joseph-Dubois was cynically brought down in the box inside the first two minutes.
The Clarets though were given a huge let off as Danny Waldren stepped up and sent his penalty high and over the bar – the third penalty Bromley have missed already this season – allowing City to breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Not put off by that penalty miss Bromley continued to push for a way back into the tie, with Chelmsford having to withstand a sustained period of pressure.
A series of corners and balls into the box from the hosts almost paid dividends, if it wasn’t for Leon Redwood who was forced to clear an effort from Scannell off the line.
Overall Mambo and his centre back partner Haines were resolute, and Chelmsford managed to create a chance to extend their lead midway through the half, but Michael Cheek failed to make a decent connection with Hughes’ clipped ball over the top.
Eyre was forced into another fine save with 20 minutes of the match remaining after Smith was caught in possession allowing Scannell to fire in a shot that was parried away.
Sawyer had the chance to put the game beyond the reach of the hosts when he was fed in by Hughes on the left following a counter attack, but the on-loan Sutton midfielder’s effort was tame and easily gathered by Brown.
Late on Mambo – who had been solid throughout – almost undone all his hard work by heading a cross from the right into his own net, and deep into stoppage time with the Bromley ‘keeper up for a corner Jack Holland headed over as Chelmsford held onto the points.
1. Seb Brown
2. Jack Holland
3. Joe Anderson
4. Ali Fuseini
5. Rob Swaine (C)
6. Adam Bailey-Dennis
7. Pierre Joseph-Dubois
8. Danny Waldren
9. Damian Scannell
10. Adam Birchall
11. Moses Ademola
12. Ugo Udoji (On for Rob Swaine 44’)
13. Paul Agu
14. Louis Dennis (On for Adam Birchall 66’)
15. Harry Grant
16. Jamie Slabber (On for Pierre Joseph-Dubois 64’)
1. Nicky Eyre
2. Rob Girdlestone
3. Leon Redwood
4. Mark Hughes (C)
5. Mark Haines
6. Yado Mambo
7. Lee Sawyer
8. Christian Smith
9. Joe Ward
10. Michael Cheek
11. Nicky Nicolau
12. Luke Callander (On for Michael Cheek 74’)
14. Harry Morgan
15. Marvin Ekpiteta
16. James Love (On for Joe Ward 66’)
19. Niklas Freund
Referee: Mr L. Venamore
Assistant Referees: Mr S. Finnigan, Mr N. Dunn
Bromley: Adam Bailey-Dennis (12’ - Foul), Damian Scannell (87’ - Kicking the ball away), Louis Dennis (89' - Foul)
Chelmsford City: Mark Haines (15' - Kicking the ball away), Luke Callander (79' - Time wasting), Nicky Eyre (87' - Decent)
Chelmsford City: Christian Smith 42’
City Man of the Match: Christian Smith