Jason Williams opened the scoring with a composed finish just seventeen minutes in before the lead was cut short by Dean Sinclair as the teams went into the break on level terms. But nine minutes into the second-half skipper Mark Hughes restored the host’s lead, heading in at the far post, before Nathan Pinney levelled with eight minutes remaining. However, Jason Williams fired home in stoppage time as the Clarets entered the play-off places for the first time this season while also recording three consecutive league wins.
The Clarets, whose previous two league results included victories against Bath City and Hemel Hempstead, started strongly and should have been ahead within the first six minutes through skipper Mark Hughes. Joe Ward’s wonderful cross from the right-flank was nodded wide by the City captain who found himself free inside the area, but he couldn’t quite direct his effort on target.
City came closer still just ten minutes later when Michael Cheek's well-timed header was cleared off the line following Chelmsford’s first corner of the game. But those missed chances were not to prove too costly however as Jason Williams put the Clarets in front after just seventeen minutes. The Soutened United loanee burst through the middle and demonstrated superb composure to slot the ball past Lewis Carey, shrugging off left-back Sam Beale in the process.
That lead lasted all of three minutes though when Dean Sinclair appeared to jump the offside trap. It looked a little dubious to say the least, but the Clarets defence completely stopped in their tracks – dismissing the ‘play to the whistle’ command – as the Boro midfielder ran through and stabbed the ball into the bottom corner past Bradley Watkins in the City goal.
Simon Johnson could then have punished the hosts for some slack defending when he pounced on Mark Hughes’ deflection. The Sports’ Academy graduate opted to take the shot first-time but blazed the effort over Watkins’ cross-bar when he ought to have made the keeper, on-loan from Barclays Premier League side Aston Villa, work at his near post.
Tempers then flared a little after Michael Cheek was booked for an adjudged foul on Ian Simpemba. That resulted in the Boro captain giving the Clarets’ faithful a sarcastic thumps-up gesture as frustration from both camps began to momentarily overrule.
Lee Sawyer then had a fine opportunity to send Chelmsford into the interval with their lead restored, but was denied by the left foot of Lewis Carey. And as Michael Cheek slid in at the far post he could only poke the save wide as the teams entered the break on level terms.
The Clarets began the second-half promisingly with Michael Cheek coming close within the first two minutes. His glanced header from a Leon Redwood’s corner almost crept in the far post but was blocked on the line, and Jason Williams’ follow-up effort was also cleared away from close-range as City just couldn’t force the ball over the line.
Then came Mark Hughes. Out of nowhere the City captain nodded home at the back post after the ball somehow found its way across goal. Nonetheless the skipper was there to score his second goal of the season.
Rohdell Gordon soon came close to a third which, you would have thought, would've put Boro to bed, but flashed his shot wide after an unconvincing clearance by Ian Simpemba.
Bradley Watkins was then called upon up the other end to execute a fine, low save to keep City’s lead in tact as the visitor’s committed men forward, leaving their back-line exposed.
Eastbourne’s Josh Hare then rose highest in the area following Frankie Raymond’s pin-point delivery and was only denied by a host of City shirts who congregated on the line to clear.
Darren Lok then had one of his first efforts of the game when he broke free of Yado Mambo, only to fire wide when off-balance as a Boro equaliser looked possible.
Possible then turned into reality when Substitute Nathan Pinney fired home after he beat Yado Mambo for pace as the Clarets were pegged back for a second time.
Michael Cheek almost took his season goal tally to fifteen when Lee Sawyer put a teasing cross along the face of goal and, if it wasn’t for a superb reaction save from Lewis Carey, the Clarets would have found themselves ahead for the third time.
Cheek then had another chance just moments later when a punt-up field by Bradley Watkins gave him time to beat Marvin Hamilton for pace. He worked his way to the by-line but his cut-back was deflected for a corner.
But that wasn’t all. Jason Williams fired the hosts in front once again in stoppage time when he latched onto a timely lay-off from centre-back Marvin Ekpiteta. The power was enough to beat any keeper, and it was more than enough to hand City the full three points as they moved into fifth position in the league table.
1. Bradley Watkins
2. Rob Girdlestone
3. Leon Redwood
4. Mark Hughes (C)
5. Marvin Ekpiteta
6. Yado Mambo
7. Lee Sawyer
8. Joe Ward
9. Jason Williams
10. Michael Cheek
11. Rohdell Gordon
12. Nicky Nicolau
14. Michael Toner (On for Jason Williams, 90)
15. Sam Gregory
16. Jake Gordon
19. Niklas Freund (GK)
1. Lewis Carey
2. Marvin Hamilton
3. Sam Beale
4. Matt Aldred
5. Ian Simpemba (C)
6. Frankie Raymond
7. Josh Hare
8. Dean Sinclair
9. Darren Lok
10. Simon Johnson
11. Kane Haysman
12. Nathaniel Pinnney (On for Matt Aldred, 75)
14. Ryan Worrall
15. Richard Paquette (On for Kane Haysman, 75)
16. Kiran Khinda-John
17. Gavin McCallum (On for Sam Beale, 71)
Referee: Mr. Michael George (North Walsham)
Assistant referees: Mr. Nigel Phillips (Ely) and Mr. Gareth Viccars (Milton Keynes)
Bookings: Chelmsford City: Michael Cheek (32, foul), Lee Sawyer (89, unsportsmanlike conduct)
Eastbourne Borough: Marvin Hamilton (42, persistent fouling)
Scorers: Chelmsford City: Jason Williams (17, 90+1), Mark Hughes (54)
Eastbourne Borough: Dean Sinclair (20), Nathan Pinney (82)
HT Score: 1-1
City Man of the Match: Jason Williams