It was a game played in a similar vein to the scoreless draw against the Fleet in the Emirates FA Cup fixture earlier this month: largely uninspiring in terms of City's attacking play, the Clarets pegged back into their own half and Ebbsfleet failing to convert possession into goals.
The Fleet admittedly had a goal ruled out for offside early on and City had Dibble to thank for an outstanding fingertip save to push a Danny Haynes free-kick on the bar, but the match was largely devoid of much goalmouth action until the latter stages, where Dibble was again the hero.
It was a vital point for City as they stayed in and around the play-off places going into next week’s long trip to Bath and the side will take great confidence from this resolute and outstanding defensive performance.
City boss Mark Hawkes was forced into two changes from the side that defeated bottom-of-the-table side Basingstoke Town last week as Aiden Palmer was ineligible to face his parent club while skipper Mark Hughes was suspended after collecting five yellow cards this season. In stepped Mark Haines and Lee Sawyer while Bagasan Graham also made way for Hugo Skepelhorn.
The hosts were dealt with an early blow, though, as just seven minutes into the match with Graham replacing Haines following a heavy tackle that left him with some facial injuries.
That injury saw Luke Daley slot into the right full-back berth as the Clarets looked to put their unfortunate start behind them.
It was the Fleet, who sit nine points clear at the summit of the National League South table, who looked the most threatening with Jon Paul Kissock dictating the tempo of the match from the outset.
For all that Ebbsfleet had, however, City’s Matty Whichelow looked determined to match but he couldn’t quite contribute in a similar fashion to Saturday’s dream debut where he netted twice.
And the Fleet were unfortunate to not find themselves in front after Danny Haynes stole the ball off Rob Girdlestone inside the City box before crossing for Jordan Parkes. The ex-Claret poked the ball home from close range but was denied by the lineman’s offside flag.
It was certainly marginal but was a let-off nonetheless for the Clarets who were too lackadaisical in clearing their lines.
From that moment on Chelmsford were pegged back into their own half but Christian Dibble, for all their possession, remained reasonably untroubled up to that point.
Parkes went close after some tidy build-up play, but his final effort dragged wide of upright. That was the story for the majority of the afternoon.
The game momentarily burst into life when Lee Sawyer was too casual on the edge of the area, but the Fleet failed to take advantage as Girdlestone cleared a Parkes lay-off.
Daley then had to be alert when Haynes sent in another teasing cross to the far post, only for the makeshift right-back to deny Matt Godden a tap-in with a timely interception.
City attacks, let alone attempts on goal, were sporadic – Brown was guilty of straying offside on a couple of occasions – and Daryl McMahon’s defence mopped up competently when required.
Ten minutes before half-time, the Clarets almost made the chance of getting a result much slimmer when a stray pass from Marvin Ekpiteta allowed Parkes to bear down on goal but, fortunately for Dibble, it flew wide of the post.
The City ‘keeper was then the saviour of his team moments after when he miraculously tipped Danny Kedwell’s driven free-kick onto the bar from around 22-yards out, an effort deserving of a goal.
That save allowed the Clarets to regroup at half-time but they were put under immediate pressure with Fleet’s Steve Lewis shooting over from range after the interval.
Chelmsford looked to recover from that and had a chance to break the deadlock when Skepelhorn played in Brown down the wing. The West Ham loanee, who held the ball up well in his previous two starts, played in Graham, but the Clarets’ winger watched as his placed effort was deflected away from goal.
Kedwell inflicted a moment of panic for the City backline but they dealt well with the teasing cross, and they were called upon again when McAuley had to dive in front of Godden’s effort from close-range.
City substitute Jonah Gosling looked to make an immediate impact when he glided past Joe Howe as if he wasn’t there before cutting the ball back to Brown, but the forward saw his shot blocked from the edge of the area. Gosling then tried for goal himself after cutting in from the left, although Hall made a routine stop to deny him his first Chelmsford goal.
Dibble was called into action one last time with another superb save to deny Godden from eight-yards, capping a terrific afternoon for the Barnsley loanee. Godden then blazed over in stoppage time to waste a golden chance to claim the three points.
It may not have been the most exciting match for a City fan but it was a hard-fought point that will be regarded as a good result come the season’s end. They certainly have Dibble to thank for that.
1. Christian Dibble
2. Rob Girdlestone
3. Mark Haines
4. Lee Sawyer
5. Marvin Ekpiteta
6. Rory McAuley (C)
7. Luke Daley
8. Harry Morgan
9. Jordan Brown
10. Matthew Whichelow
11. Hugo Skepelhorn
12. Jonah Gosling (On for Hugo Skepelhorn, 74’)
14. Bagasan Graham (On for Mark Haines, 7’)
15. Charlie Henry (On for Matthew Whichelow, 87’)
16. Tomi Adeloye
17. Connor Pearce
1. Brandon Hall
2. Matt Fish
3. Joe Howe
4. Stuart Lewis
5. Kenny Clark
6. Tom Bonner (C)
7. Jon Paul Kissock
8. Jordan Parkes
9. Danny Kedwell
10. Matt Godden
11. Danny Haynes
12. Anthony Acheampong
13. Jon Miles
14. Adam Cunningham
15. Theo Lewis
16. Michael West (On for Danny Haynes, 75’)
Referee: Mr. Gary Parsons (Lymington)
Assistant referees: Mr. Marcus Carmichael and Mr. Alex Gray.
Bookings: Chelmsford City: Lee Sawyer (83’, foul)
Ebbsfleet United: Stuart Lewis (40’, foul)
Scorers: Chelmsford City: None
Ebbsfleet United: None
HT score: 0-0
FT score: 0-0
City Man of the Match: Christian Dibble