Report by Brian Jeeves
This was the Clarets 3,000th league fixture and they arrived on the Kent coast keen to enhance their National League South play-off credentials following an exciting 4-3 derby victory over Concord Rangers at the Melbourne Stadium three days previous.
Despite their contrasting campaigns, this all of a sudden had become something of a banana skin for the Clarets. Hosts Margate, now under the management of Steve Watt, had signed no less that eight players in the week leading up to the match, offering the Hartsdown Park faithful hope following a wretched run of eighteen successive defeats in all competitions.
Nevertheless, Chelmsford started brightly, with Josh Rees firing over in the opening minutes. Meanwhile, Jake Phillips was a whisker away with an audacious effort for the hosts, this after Ross Fitzsimmons fly-kick had only found the Margate man on the halfway line.
Shaun Jeffers deflected attempt found the side netting, while Josh Hill nodded the resulting flag-kick over as the Clarets started to press with a little more intent. Indeed, the home goal was now leading a charmed life as Robbie Willmott’s driven centre eluded a clutch of potential takers.
Chris Dickson’s angled strike was cleared, while Michael Spillane headed into the gloves of Margate goalkeeper, Lewis Ward, as the visitors search for an opening goal continued. And the visitors went even closer when defender, Tarik Moore Azille headed off the line after Haysman had fired goalwards.
But with their next meaningful foray forward Chelmsford took the lead. Referee, Paul Howard, spotted an infringement on skipper, Anthony Church and Jeffers, in turn, sent Ward the wrong way from the resulting spot-kick for his twentieth goal of the season.
The Clarets thought they had doubled their advantage immediately after the break when Margate’s, Chris Sessegnon, headed into his own net. However, the visitor's celebrations were cut short for a foul on the defender by Dickson. Soon after, Jeffers headed wide after Willmott had delivered as City looked to swiftly kill the contest.
Josh Rees wasn’t far away from a telling contact after a flowing move down the right as the visitors continued to ask almost all the questions. Meanwhile, Fitzsimmons had to be alert to turn away Ira Jackson’s thundering effort as Margate rallied.
But it was Chelmsford who continued to create and pass up opportunities. Jeffers headed over from close range after Haysman had picked him out, although the visitor’s had a huge let off when Hakeem Adelakun burst clear but fired agonisingly the wrong side of an upright.
But with a quarter of an hour remaining Chelmsford gave themselves some breathing space. Hill arrived unchallenged to firmly head Willmott’s flag-kick beyond Ward, much to the delight of the sizable contingent of Clarets supporters behind the goal.
Chelmsford will undoubtedly be frustrated that they didn’t convert more of their chances to win by a far greater margin, However, this was another three points which could prove to be hugely important as the campaign moves into its final furlong,
Chelmsford City are next in National League South action on Saturday, March 4 when they travel to Vauxhall Road to face Hemel Hempstead Town (3pm).
Margate: Lewis Ward, Chris Sessegnon, Aiden Palmer, James Rogers (Capt), Tarik Moore-Azille, Marvin Hamilton, Jeffrey Monakana (Joseff Morrell), Jake Phillips, Hakeem Adelakun (Daniel Akindayini), Ira Jackson, Jerson Dos Santos (Dean Morgan) Subs not used: Valery Pajetat, Alfie Foster
Chelmsford City: Ross Fitzsimmons, Josh Hill, Bagasan Graham, Josh Rees (Max Porter), Chris Bush, Michael Spillane, Robbie Willmott, Anthony Church (Capt), Shaun Jeffers, Chris Dickson (Liam Enver-Marum), Kane Haysman Subs not used: Mark Haines, Luke Daley Daniel Blanchett
Goals: Shaun Jeffers (penalty) 41’, Josh Hill 75’
Referee: Paul Howard
Assistants: James Simpson and Steven Scott