By Adam May
Michael Cheek opened the scoring after just a minute before Nicky Nicolau sent a low shot into the bottom corner with twenty minutes gone. Weston threatened the hosts late on in the first-half but struggled to muster any real clear-cut chances. And City’s lead was further added to when Michael Cheek met Joe Ward’s timely cross, which was also City’s 3000th League goal scored at home.
Weston did threaten to cause a late upset however when goals from Tom Jordan and substitute Corey Williams on 69 and 77 minutes respectively set-up a nervy final ten minutes.
But the Clarets held on for the three points despite that late surge from the Seagulls.
The first-half showing, you could argue, was the type of performance that manager Mark Hawkes has craved. Competent passing play, penetrating runs and, perhaps most importantly, a solid defensive display. It still begs the question as to why the Clarets cannot consistently play in this manner. Yes, they demonstrated their abilities with a fine 1-0 away win at promotion favourites Bromley a fortnight ago, but that was followed by a hazardous display and damaging 4-0 defeat at Boreham Wood.
The second-half though is a cause for concern. Switching off momentarily from set-piece and not reacting quick enough from Weston’s attacks were what caused the anxious final ten minutes. Something that no doubt frustrated Hawkes.
He said: "It was hard work in the end. The last thirteen minutes saw us go back into our old ways.
"We've done ever so well to get 3-0 up. We played some good football and scored some good goals and soaked up a little bit of pressure.
"They're a good footballing side but they couldn't get behind us [in the first-half]. Once we conceded that first goal a few nerves set in and some bad habits set in as we didn't clear our lines. Instead of scoring four or five goals we've hung on to a 3-2. We're happy with the three points though."
Nonetheless, you can only put the previous weeks’ results behind you and beat the team that next comes your way. And that’s precisely what City did.
The Clarets started superbly and found themselves ahead after just a minute. Lee Sawyer’s punt up-field was picked up by Michael Cheek who demonstrated excellent strength to beat Weston full-back Aaron Brown. The City frontman then pulled a fine save from Luke Purnell but the ‘keeper could do nothing about Cheek’s second-attempt as he poked home.
Evans Kouassi then almost made the perfect introduction on his home debut when he forced Luke Purnell into a save after effortlessly jinking his way inside the box following Michael Cheek’s timely cut-back.
However, the Clarets were almost left red-faced when Yado Mambo deflected a cross from the left flank into the path of his goalkeeper Niklas Fruend – who was celebrating his birthday – who did well to push it around the post.
Michael George was then forced to make a crucial penalty call when Weston’s Clayton Fortune hauled Michael Cheek to the floor, but the North Walsham referee waved play on and saw no wrongdoing.
That was after Michael Cheek dragged a shot agonisingly wide of the post following some good link-up play with Nicky Nicolau, a player who recently re-signed for the Clarets following his release from the club in the summer.
But the winger showed why Mark Hawkes was right to sign him back when he latched onto Michael Cheek’s cut-back and sent a low shot into the bottom corner to double City’s tally within just 20-minutes.
Weston had the inevitable period of possession following that but struggled to create any ‘clear-cut’ chances and only truly threatened from Joe McClennan’s crosses and a scuffed effort from Jamie Lucas, but the City defence dealt with them with a great degree of success.
The Seagulls did end the half the strongest however and Aaron Brown’s corner was almost turned in at the near post by Jamie Lucas, but his effort just arched over the bar.
Michael Cheek then dragged a shot wide for the Clarets as the half-time whistle sounded.
Mark Hawkes’s men were quick out of the blocks in an attempt to further consolidate their lead, and youngster Joe Ward went close with his left-footed effort which whistled narrowly wide of an upright.
Ward then had another fine opportunity just one minute later when Michael Cheek nodded on Niklas Freund’s drop-kick. The City winger then worked his way into the box and past Clayton Fortune with ease before ballooning his effort over the cross-bar.
But Ward was not to be fazed and soon made up for the miss when he set-up City’s third goal – and Cheek’s second – of the afternoon. The winger aimed a delicious cross towards the far post where Michael Cheek slid in to poke home past Luke Purnell. The City fans cheered and celebrated Chelmsford City’s 3000th League home goal in suitable fashion.
Weston did cause the Clarets some concern just shy of the 70-minute mark when Seagulls skipper Tom Jordan rose highest and headed home.
Substitute Corey Williams then sent the ball past the helpless Niklas Freund to set-up a nervy final ten minutes or so.
But the Clarets managed to hold on for three vital points. Just. It will be all now be about building on this result and improving second half performances. But with games coming thick and fast, it will be no easy task.
1. Niklas Freund
2. James Love
3. Leon Redwood
4. Mark Hughes (C)
5. Mark Haines
6. Yado Mambo
7. Lee Sawyer
8. Joe Ward
9. Evans Kouassi
10. Michael Cheek
11. Nicky Nicolau
12. Rhodell Gordon (On for Joe Ward, 74)
14. Harry Morgan
15. Luke Callander
16. Christian Smith (On for Evans Kouassi, 84)
17. Marvin Ekpiteta
1. Luke Purnell
2. Pierce Mitcell
3. Aaron Brown
4. Jake Mawford
5. Tom Jordan (C)
6. Clayton Fortune
7. Joe McClennan
8. Jacob Cane
9. Jamie Lucas
10. Dayle Grubb
11. Alec Fiddes
12. Sam Teale
14. Corey Williams (On for Aaron Brown, 58)
15. Conor O’Sullivan (On for Alec Fiddes, 58)
16. Bradley Ash
17. Jake Harris (On for Joe McClennan, 71)
Referee: Mr. M. George (North Walsham)
Assistant Referees: Mr R. Bloy and Mr. N. Phillips
Bookings: Chelmsford City: Leon Redwood (90, delaying the start of play)
Weston-super-Mare: Tom Jordan (83, foul)
Scorers: Chelmsford City: Michael Cheek (1, 53), Nicky Nicolau (20)
Weston-super-Mare: Tom Jordan (59), Corey Williams (77)
City Man of the Match: Michael Cheek