Writes Matt Lee
Anthony Straker gave the hosts the lead inside five minutes from the penalty spot. Tom Wraight could have levelled midway through the second half, but the Clarets will be left thinking ‘what if’ after Adam Mann added a second in second-half stoppage time to ensure the three points remained in the West Country.
City boss Rod Stringer two changes to the side that beat Weston-super-Mare over a week ago. Rhys Murphy and Tobi Sho-Silva dropped out through injuries; Scott Fenwick and Chris Whelpdale started for the Clarets.
It was not a good start for City though as they went behind within the opening five minutes. While video footage proved the ball was out of play, referee Richard Gardner judged Jazzi Barnum-Bobb to have fouled Ross Stearn, allowing Anthony Straker to stroke home the resulting penalty kick.
Bath could have doubled their lead four minutes later when Ryan Brunt was given space to produce a cross; but the Clarets kept their composure to block two efforts towards the City goal.
Clarets skipper Anthony Church entered the referee’s book on 21 minutes as his heavy challenge grounded Stearn in the opponent’s half. Whelpdale briefly troubled the hosts with a trademark long-throw, but the winger’s delivery was punched clear by Ryan Clarke.
City’s best chance of the first half came with nine minutes remaining. Whelpdale collected a quick throw-in, crossed it into the box but Clarke was only able to muster a half-clearance; but the Romans’ shot-stopper was relieved to know that no Chelmsford players were on-hand to capitalise.
Tom Wraight entered the book in the 40th minute after clashing with Michee Efete.
Chelmsford were handed a great chance to carve an equaliser when an indirect freekick was awarded inside the Bath penalty area after Ross Batten was judged to have completed a back-pass to Clarke; but Fenwick was unable to get a shot away from Michael Spillane’s pass as the defenders did well to put pressure on the striker.
Jonny Giles tested Clarke’s reactions early in the second half, but his stinging effort was a comfortable save from the young shot-stopper.
Adrian Cascaval became the third Chelmsford player to receive a yellow car as he was penalised for pulling back Tom Smith.
Mann’s freekick almost doubled Bath’s lead just before the hour-mark, wrong-footing Ashley Maynard-Brewer due to a deflection; the on-loan goalkeeper reacted well to adjust himself well.
Robbie Cundy received a yellow card for a 50/50 tackle with Church, but the Clarets skipper was forced off through injury and replaced by Chez Isaac.
Mann had another chance to increase Bath’s lead; however, the Romans attacker lost his composure as he found space and eventually dragged a low shot wide.
Stringer made his second substitution by replacing Barnum-Bobb with Amos Nasha as the game entered its final twenty minutes.
Chelmsford pushed hard for an equalising goal but found it difficult to break down the Bath defensive quarters; Wraight poked an effort onto the crossbar from two yards before Fenwick had a chance of his own.
City’s own attacking intents almost handed the hosts a second goal, Spillane’s back-pass forced Maynard-Brewer into a hurried clearance. The goalkeeper’s attempted clearance was blocked by Brunt but deflected wide.
Despite some late pressure from the Clarets, it was too little too late and Mann’s efforts during the second half were eventually rewarded as he stroked home from close range in stoppage time to double the hosts’ lead after Chelmsford failed to deal with a late corner.