Saints provide no barrier as classy Chelmsford gallop to victory
St Albans City 1 Chelmsford City 2 Brayley 10, Holmes 38, Hakim 80 David Brawn at Clarence Park ST Albans City were brushed aside by a strong Chelmsford City outfit at Clarence Park on Saturday in the Blue Square South. Both sides deployed 4-2-3-1 systems
St Albans City 1 Chelmsford City 2
Brayley 10, Holmes 38, Hakim 80
David Brawn at Clarence Park
ST Albans City were brushed aside by a strong Chelmsford City outfit at Clarence Park on Saturday in the Blue Square South.
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Both sides deployed 4-2-3-1 systems with manager Steve Castle setting up his side to nullify the threat of former Spurs and Brighton and Hove Albion player Jeff Minton and ex-Dagenham & Redbridge man Dave Rainford in midfield. Unfortunately for the hosts it was on the flanks and up-front where the slick Chelmsford outfit posed a major threat.
Saints were missing winger Hassan Sulaiman due to a hamstring injury and former Peterborough United trainee Rod Hicks, aged 21, was handed his full league debut. Paul Hakim started wide on the right and Jonathan Hunt was handed an advanced role behind the central striker Lee Clarke.
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Chelmsford signalled their intent when a shot from marauding right back Justin Miller found the bottom corner through a crowd of players on just two minutes, only for the offside flag to deny the strike.
Hicks put over a dangerous cross on five minutes but Saints had nobody in the middle to get on the end of it.
The electric winger Ricky Holmes was instrumental in the opening goal as he tore into the danger zone and fed former Stevenage Borough forward Ollie Berquez. His shot was superbly blocked by Ben Martin but left back Ian Cousins hit a fine cross to the back post where impressive striker Brayley arrived to fire past Bastock on 10 minutes.
The visitors threatened to run riot and Bastock had to be at his best to dive and push wide a stinging shot from Berquez.
Chelmsford doubled their advantage on 38 minutes when star duo Brayley and Holmes combined again. Two defenders were left stranded as Holmes controlled a pass from Brayley and flicked a clever shot over the stranded Bastock and into the far corner.
Saints finally showed some attacking intent on 41 minutes when Sean Ridgway set Jonathan Hunt clear and his sublime ball inside looked to have set up Clarke. The striker delayed his shot and Chelmsford goalkeeper Danny Gay dived at his feet to flick the ball away to safety.
Chelmsford lacked the same potency in the second half as they relaxed and kept possession with Rainford slowing the game down and Holmes moving from the flank to a central position.
Paul Hakim pulled a goal back for Saints on 80 minutes when he was in the right place, despite offside protests from the visitors, to rise above goalkeeper Gay and flick a header into the net after a Tom Youngs shot was deflected into his path.
Any hopes of a snatching a point to stun the big spending visitors quickly subsided as Saints were unable to mount any pressure and Chelmsford collected the points to maintain their strong start to life in the Blue Square South.
St Albans City
Bastock GK, Fisher RB, Cousins LM, Bowditch CM, B. Martin CB, Quilter CB, Hicks ALM, Ridway CM, Hakim ARM, Clarke CF, Hunt AM. Subs: Archer for Hicks (31), S. Martin for Ridgway (58), Youngs for Clarke (69). Unused subs: Adams, Jinadu.
Gay GK, Miller RB, Cousins LB, Duncan CB, Ward CB, James ARM, Rainford CM, Minton CM, Berquez AM, Brayley CF, Holmes ALM. Subs: Lawson for Minton (46), Moore for Holmes (69). Unused subs: Keeling, Robinson, Harrison.
Referee: Mr Ian Rathbone (Northampton).