Clarets too strong for Saints
Chelmsford City 2 (Antonio Murray 22, Rob Edmans 86) St Albans City 0 James Ronayne at Melbourne Park ST ALBANS City suffered their fourth away defeat of the season as goals from Antonio Murray and Rob Edmans gave Chelmsford City all three points. The S
Chelmsford City 2 (Antonio Murray 22, Rob Edmans 86)
St Albans City 0
James Ronayne at Melbourne Park
ST ALBANS City suffered their fourth away defeat of the season as goals from Antonio Murray and Rob Edmans gave Chelmsford City all three points.
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The Saints look short of confidence and have now failed to score in three of those four away defeats. Chelmsford were the best footballing side the Saints have come across this season but even so the backline wasn't tested a great deal, which will make the result all the more frustrating for Steve Castle and his players.
The two sides had near-identical records going into the game and were fairly evenly matched throughout but St Albans' failure to test the opposition goalkeeper or even threaten is really undoing their hard work.
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Young goalkeeper Michael Emery made his debut for the Saints in place of the suspended Paul Bastock, while Mark Peters came in for Solomon Shields who also sat out the game through suspension. Adam Everitt returned from suspension to take his place in the side at Jamie Thurlbourne's expense.
The first real chance of the game fell to the home side with seven minutes gone. Danny Bunce got to the byline and stood up a cross to the far post where Danny Hockton was lurking but the former Braintree man headed well over the bar.
Moments later a free kick from Bunce out on City's right somehow evaded the on-rushing attackers whistling narrowly past Emery's far post.
Chelmsford continued to pile pressure on City's defence and Ricky Holmes went close with a shot from an acute angle that landed on the roof of the net.
The hosts eventually found a way through on 22 minutes. The Saints defence failed to deal with Anthony Cook and his pass found Antonio Murray who was on hand to stab the ball past Emery from close range.
The Saints response was a good one and Gary Cohen should have scored an equaliser when he was left alone in the opposition penalty area following a corner, unfortunately the former Grimsby man's effort was held by Craig Holloway.
The game was becoming a lively affair and Emery had to get down low to keep out a well struck shot from Chelmsford captain Dave Rainford.
Steve Castle changed things around at the break introducing Daniel Chillingworth for James Quilter and playing the big striker up top with Craig Calver with Roberts and Cohen dropping down to play on the wings.
The change seemed to work with the Saints enjoying a spell of sustained pressure after the break. However, not for the first time this season, the referee's whistle disrupted any rhythm that was building.
Rainford did manage one long range effort on target but young stopper Emery was more than equal to it.
Cohen went on a mazy run and did well to hold off the challenge of Danny Bunce to win City a corner. The set play looked dangerous, Rob Edmans' heading over his own bar under pressure from Peters.
City should have grabbed an equaliser nine minutes from time. Jamie Thurlbourne's long cross-field pass was well won in the air by Cohen who found Chillingworth but the substitute headed wide of the target.
It was to be the Saints' last chance of grabbing something from the game as Chelmsford wrapped up their win with a well taken goal five minutes from time. Edmans linked with Ricky Modeste from Ben Martin's long free kick and the giant striker danced his way around the challenges of the City defence before slotting the ball in to the top corner.
It was so nearly 3-0 when Ricky Holmes picked up a throw in on the left and hit a shot that crashed off the top bar with Emery motionless but the home side had to settle for just the two goals and a welcome three points.
Chelmsford City (4-3-3): Holloway; Lock, B.Martin, Ward, Bunce; Rainford, J.Martin, Cook; Murray (Modeste 76), Hockton (Edmans 66), Holmes.
Subs: Haines, Hand, Harrison.
St Albans City (4-3-3): Emery; Bailey, Frater, Peters, Everitt (J.Thurlbourne 43); Quilter (Chillingworth 46), Fisher, L.Thurlbourne; Cohen, Calver (Green 68), Roberts.
Subs: Quinton, Mortimer.
Referee: Paul Harris (Maidstone)
Man of the Match: Gary Cohen