Writes Matt Lee…
Chelmsford City boss Rod Stringer labelled his side’s 3-0 home defeat to Wealdstone as their worst performance during his three years at the Club.
And with City producing another well-below par performance for the second time in as many matches, Stringer declared “some of those players may not play for Chelmsford again.”
The Clarets avoided falling behind as early as they did at Welling on Good Friday, matching their opponents until the 35th minute.
But Danny Green fired the visitors ahead with a well-struck volley before Tarryn Allarakhia’s long-range effort doubled the Stones’ lead. Victory was assured for Bobby Wilkinson’s side just before the hour-mark as a low cross was deflected over the line by Adrian Cascaval.
Stringer made three changes to the side that was beaten at Welling as Michael Spillane, Anthony Church and Jonny Giles dropped out the squad ahead of Matt Young, Lamar Reynolds and Jordan Chiedozie.
Although the Clarets boss explained that the squad changes were no excuse for the poor performance. “It’s the worst we’ve played all season,” he said. “I’ve given players a chance today: Lamar, Chiedozie, Young. But we were miles off the pace today.
“After Wealdstone’s opener, I’ve been disappointed. At half-time I tried to galvanise the boys, but we’ve given away some of the worst goals possible for this level.
“Looking on today, anyone who meets us in the play-offs must be rubbing their hands because they [Wealdstone] played very well. They were big, strong and organised, they were more physical and fitter than us.
“Going into the play-offs you want as much availability as possible. We’ve rested Michael Spillane because of injury, we don’t want to take major risks going into the play-offs. But, on reflection, it may be alright tinkering in one area but in three areas it has made us collectively poor.
“The boys are quite aware that today wasn’t good enough.”
Crawley Town loanee Allarkhia looked hungry from the outset, driving wide after just eight minutes. Chris Whelpdale forced Stones ‘keeper Jonathan North into a save moments later, the ball fell to Rhys Murphy, but the striker was denied by another good save.
After a strong start from Wealdstone, Whelpdale featured again as he met a deep cross from Chez Isaac, but North came off his line to collect the effort.
Wealdstone came again with more questions for the home side to answer three minutes later, Godfrey Poku’s long-range effort made Nathan MacDonald struggle to save, the resulting corner from Green was headed inches wide by Jerome Okimo.
The deadlock was eventually broken on 33 minutes as Freddie Grant’s back-heel bobbled up to Green who struck a left-footed volley into the top corner.
Jordan Chiedozie came close to levelling the scores shortly before the interval, but he was not able to move the ball quick enough before being dispossessed by Godfrey Poku.
Wealdstone doubled their lead five minutes into the second half when Allarakhia took control and blasted a left-footed deflected shot into the net from outside the area.
The Stones grabbed a third six minutes later when good chasing by Green rewarded the midfielder with the ball, his low cross from the left fell to Clarets defender Cascaval, who unbelievably volleyed the ball into his own net.
A triple substitution for the Clarets followed as Rod Stringer made all his possible throws of the dice as he looked to get something from the tie but, with a non-existent atmosphere and a hugely disappointing performance, the hosts were humbled by a dominant Stones performance.