Brave St Albans City produce battling performance to defeat Chelsmford
- Credit: Archant
St Albans City heeded the words of manager Ian Allinson with a battling performance against Chelmsford City – and the 3-1 win that keeps their National south play-off hopes alive was a very worthy reward.
Both sides needed to win this but for different reasons. Chelmsford are still looking to finish in the top three and secure a home tie in the play-off semi-final.
Saints on the other hand just want to get into the end-of-season showdown and with five games to go prior to kick-off had Allinson’s rallying call from last week where he called for them to be brave ringing in their ears.
They came from behind to do it. Chris Whelpdale had put the Clarets in front but two goals from David Moyo and a stunner from Khale Da Costa gave Saints the three points.
Chelmsford’s miserable afternoon was rounded off by Billy Knott’s dismissal.
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Bravery, however, seemed to be in short supply as both sides started the contest in cagey fashion.
They weren’t helped by the stop-start nature of the game, with both physios spending a lot of time on the pitch in the opening 11 minutes.
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When play did settle down, Chelmsford were the ones who came closest to scoring.
Scott Fenwick fired wide after a poor clearance by Lewis Knight and then Dean Snedker had to kick away a Tom Wraight effort and tip a Whelpdale chip up in the air.
City’s first real shot didn’t arrive until 41 minutes when Scott Shulton hit an effort into the turf and it bounced harmlessly wide.
But suddenly the game burst into life with two goals in three minutes.
Chelmsford won a corner, after the ball seem to bobble up and off the shins of Tom Bender, and Whelpdale, the former Stevenage man, timed his run to perfection to head over Snedker.
But despondency soon turned to delight as Moyo was left totally unmarked at the back post to head a Ben Wyatt free-kick into the top corner.
Bravery was probably still the watch word in the home dressing room and if it was, the players were listening intently.
A fast break in the third minute of the second half saw Da Costa played away down the right and his first-time cross was poked in by the onrushing Moyo for a 2-1 lead.
And it got even better with a wondrous strike by the effervescent Da Costa.
He was found on the edge of the box with a low pass but a beautiful touch and turn saw him with a clear sight of goal.
And with Nathan McDonald off his line the finish was sumptuous chip that had the City bench on their feet with arms aloft.
The two-goal cushion gave Saints chances to break but they spent large chunks of the remainder of the game defending.
They did that very well mind you and even when Chelmsford found a shooting opportunity through a crowd of players from Whelpdale, Snedker pulled off a brilliant save considering he would have been unsighted.
And the home side could have wrapped it up in stoppage time when Liam Sole was found unmarked on the edge of the box.
He hesitated for too long and it allowed McDonald to come out and make the block.
It didn’t matter and you get the feeling that the City bravehearts are warming to their challenge in the final stages of the season.
St Albans City: Snedker, Kaloczi, Bender, Shulton, Knight, Clark, Wyatt, Sambou, Da Costa (Sole 84), Moyo (Merson 88), Kamdjo.
Subs (not used): Bonfield, Joyce-Dwarika, Geller.
Goals: Moyo 45, 48, Da Costa 55
Booked: Kamdjo 37, Kaloczi 50, Da Costa 55, Wyatt 69
Chelmsford City: McDonald, Spillane (Young 51), Omozusi, Barnum-Bobb, Anderson (Reynolds 46), Church, Knott, Whelpdale, Wraight (Giles 59), Fenwick, Murphy.
Subs (not used): Isaac, Cosgrave.
Goals: Whelpdale 42
Booked: Spillane 44, Church 66
Sent-off: Knott 82
HT: St Albans City 1 Chelmsford City 1.
Referee: Daniel Lamport (Swindon)