Home form has been an issue for the Clarets this campaign. Barring Wednesday night’s Essex Senior Cup win over Witham Town, the Clarets haven’t won at home since the 5-2 victory over Concord Rangers on Monday 14th September. It makes for uneasy reading.
It’s not for the lack of trying – Billy Bricknell has undoubtedly bolstered the side since returning from injury, Boreham Wood loanee Matty Whichelow has added some flair, and Bagasan Graham has been a threat – but there just aren’t enough goals being scored.
They got off to the worst possible start against a Wealdstone side who themselves have been struggling and sit just two points above the relegation zone, with Wesley Parker prodding home after just fifteen-minutes.
The wounds were reddened on the stroke of half-time when Bradley Hudson-Odoi profited on a lapse of concentration from the Clarets, and it gave Chelmsford a task they wouldn’t overcome.
Mark Hawkes made three changes to the side who came from behind to beat Ryman Division One North side Witham, with goalkeeper Tim Brown, Graham and central midfielder Ben Marlow forcing Connor Pearce, Damien Green and Michael Thalassitis to drop to the bench. Skipper Mark Hughes was absent through injury.
Meanwhile Wealdstone, who held the Clarets to a 0-0 draw in September, named two new signings on the bench with former Millwall left-back Jack Smith and ex-Fleetwood shot stopper Joe Taylor amongst the substitutes.
The Stones were put under immediate pressure from the Clarets but for all their attacking intent early on, the Clarets found themselves trailing after just fifteen minutes. City, who conceded goals from two set-pieces and a penalty last week against Cheltenham in the FA Trophy, were undone again, this time by a Scott Davies corner.
Jonathan Wright rose to meet it at the far post but the hosts failed to react as it crashed against the bar, leaving skipper Wesley Parker with the task of prodding home from close-range.
Chelmsford looked determined to make an immediate reply and almost achieved just that when Rory McAuley dived to meet Matty Whichelow’s corner, only to watch it fly narrowly over the bar.
The hosts thought they’d pulled themselves back into it when Marvin Ekpiteta converted Graham’s free-kick at the back post, but was denied by the lineman’s flag for offside.
It very quickly grew to be a frustrating afternoon for the Clarets who just couldn’t quite work the keeper enough, and Billy Bricknell looked an isolated figure at times as he was in the hunt for his eleventh goal of the season.
Ben Marlow did go close with a volley right before half-time but the miss proved costly as the Clarets were dispossessed with acres of space gaping behind them. It allowed for Bradley Hudson-Odoi to race through and slot home past Brown, leaving the Clarets with a mammoth task of rescuing a point.
They pressed forward and got in a number of promising positions, but Howes remained untested for large periods and, despite Hawkes throwing on the physical Michael Thalassitis, the dynamics of the match didn’t really alter.
Although Wealdstone, who had a considerable number of chances on goal, were almost out of sight as Jefferson Louis powered home a header. Denied by the offside flag.
Next up for the Clarets is an eagerly anticipated home clash with Dartford on Boxing Day, and Hawkes will hope his side can warm the festive crowd and gain a much needed home win in order to pull away from the drop-zone.
1. Tim Brown
2. Rob Girdlestone
3. Bagasan Graham
4. Lee Sawyer
5. Marvin Ekpiteta
6. Rory McAuley
7. Ben Marlow
8. Luke Daley
9. Billy Bricknell
10. Matthew Whichelow
11. Harry Morgan
12. Michael Thalassitis (On for Harry Morgan, 56’)
14. Damien Green
15. Marvel Ekpiteta (On for Luke Daley, 68’)
16. Joe O’Hare (On for Lee Sawyer, 85’)
17. Connor Pearce (GK)
1. Samuel Howes
2. Oliver Duffy
3. Dale Binns
4. Wesley Parker (C)
5. Thomas Cadmore
6. Elliott Godfrey
7. Jonathan Wright
8. Matthew Harriott
9. Jefferson Louis
10. Scott Davies
11. Bradley Hudson-Odoi
12. Jack D. Smith (On for Oliver Duffy, 35’)
13. Joseph Taylor (GK)
14. Michael Corcoran (On for Wesley Parker, 66’)
15. Shaun Lucien
16. Joshua Hutchinson (On for Jefferson Louis, 87’)
Referee: Mr. Neil Hair (Peterborough)
Assistant Referees: Mr. Dele Sotimirin and Mr. Ray Wells
Chelmsford City: None
Wealdstone: Wes Parker (15’), Bradley Hudson-Odoi (45+2)
Chelmsford City: None
Wealdstone: Matthew Harriott (17’, foul), Dale Binns (22’, foul)
HT Score: 0-2
FT Score: 0-2
City Man of the Match: Ben Marlow