Bastock heroics can't stop Chelmsford

St Albans City 0 Chelmsford City 1 (Ricky Holmes 65) James Ronayne at Clarence Park A STELLAR performance from Paul Bastock couldn t stop St Albans City slipping to defeat to Chelmsford at a damp Clarence Park. Bastock was in fine form for City pulling

St Albans City 0

Chelmsford City 1 (Ricky Holmes 65)

James Ronayne at Clarence Park

A STELLAR performance from Paul Bastock couldn't stop St Albans City slipping to defeat to Chelmsford at a damp Clarence Park.

Bastock was in fine form for City pulling off a series of to keep City in the game and only being beaten in the 65th minute by Ricky Holmes' low shot after City had gifted the opposition possession.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for City, who certainly weren't outclassed by their opponents despite the league table showing the Clarets up in the play-offs and City in the lower reaches of mid-table.

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City made one change to the team that beat Basingstoke Town on Tuesday night with Mark Peters coming in for Lamine Sagna in an unusual position up front.

Good work by Peters up front forced Chelmsford defender Steve Ward to play the ball back to goalkeeper Ashley Harrison. Gary Cohen raced in on the goalkeeper and charged his kick down but the deflection was unkind and the ball eventually went out for a throw.

Peter Smith lost possession in the Clarets' half allowing Chelmsford to counter attack. Antony Cook switched the ball across the field to the unmarked Rob Edmans but his shot was tame and Bastock kept it out.

A minute later a snap shot by Holmes forced Bastock into action. The veteran 'keeper got down well to keep out the initial shot and reacted fantastically to keep out Edmans' follow up.

Smith saw a clearance blocked but the City left back was let off the hook as Holmes dragged his shot across the face of goal.

The left back didn't let that mistake affect him though, showing good persistence down the left winning the ball back from Steve Clark and whipping in a cross that Steve Ward had to head behind his own goal.

A free kick from Drew Roberts nicked off the wall on its way through and went narrowly wide for a corner.

Holmes continued to cause the City defence trouble on the few occasions he did see the ball. The Chelmsford winger wriggled free on the left and cut back in onto his right foot but his low shot was saved by Bastock.

The last effort of a disappointing first half went the way of the visitors but Dave Rainford's speculative shot from 25 yards flew over the bar and summed up a first half that was lacking in any real quality.

City nearly shot themselves in the foot early in the second period when a back pass from James Fisher wasn't cleared far enough by Bastock. Ollie Berquez picked up the loose ball and sent it back towards the goal but it lacked power and Bastock was able to get back and stop the ball.

City's first shot on target came in the 50th minute when Smith jinked his way past a challenge and let fly from 30 yards. The ball took a wicked bounce in front of goalkeeper Harrison who had to palm it round the post for a corner.

A smartly struck free kick from Smith was only dealt with at the second attempt by Harrison after he'd dropped the initial effort.

The game then became very niggly and referee Neil Hair took both Frater and Cook's names after an altercation. Rainford and Roberts soon followed after the Chelmsford man aimed an elbow at the City man who reacted and pulled him over.

Chelmsford took the lead in the 65th minute when Holmes was presented with his easiest goal of the season.

Poku lost the ball in the middle allowing Edmans to race down the right and play the ball low into the box. Clayton got a boot to the cross but it only went to Holmes 12 yards out who had the simple task of placing the ball low past Bastock for his sixth goal in the last seven league games.

Chelmsford had the ball in the back of the net for a second time in the 78th minute when Holmes ghosted past Frater and fired a low cross into the box for Edmans to fire home but the visitors' celebrations were cut short by the assistant's flag.

With City pushing for an equaliser Chelmsford were able to hit their hosts on the counter attack. Once such move saw Edmans cross for Berquez but Frater produced a great challenge to dispossess the visitors.

A great cross from O'Donnell nearly bought an equaliser but a Chelmsford defender beat Peters to the cross and headed behind.

City should have drawn level from the resulting corner when Smith's cross was fumbled by Harrison onto Peters' head but the makeshift striker couldn't readjust and headed over.

Holmes' pace was a real threat and he should have doubled Chelmsford's tally four minutes from time when he sped past Clayton only to be denied by a great save from Bastock.

Another effort from Holmes was well saved by Bastock and with Berqeuz following up and certain to score the City custodian produced a fantastic point blank save.

A free kick from Smith found Peters at the far post but the City man couldn't get enough power on it and Harrison collected.

That was how it stayed as City were left to dwell on a gamed they should've got at least a point from.

St Albans City: Bastock; Quilter (O'Donnell 66), Frater, Clayton, Smith; Fisher, Shields, Poku (Johnson 72), Cohen; Peters, Roberts (Sagna 72).

Subs: Everitt, Mortimer.

Chelmsford City: Harrison; Clark, Haines, Ward, Haswell; Cook, Berquez, Rainford, Lock; Holmes, Edmans.

Subs: B. Martin, J. Martin, Modeste, Patterson, Holloway.

Referee: Neil Hair (Peterborough)

Att: 467

Man of the Match: Paul Bastock