St Albans City produce a hard-fought performance to defeat Chelmsford

Ben Martin's header finds the net but he is penalised for a foul on Joe Welch. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Ben Martin's header finds the net but he is penalised for a foul on Joe Welch. Picture: BOB WALKLEY - Credit: Archant

St Albans City survived a frantic last 15 minutes to record their second successive home victory with a 2-1 win over Chelmsford City.

Goals from City’s centre-half pairing of Ryan Johnson and Ben Martin put Saints into a 2-0 lead and although Shamir Mullings pulled one back City held on.

The win was much needed after the 3-0 reverse to Bath City on Saturday.

Chelmsford had the brighter start without truly testing James Russell.

But the game exploded into life on 10 minutes with a huge shout for a penalty and the Clarets may have every right to be bitter.

There was definitely contact between Tom Bender and Shaun Jeffers but the referee decided the Chelmsford number nine had gone down of his own volition and promptly produced a yellow card.

The same two players also had a powerful coming together late in the half. Referee again viewed Jeffers as the guilty party but kept his cards in his pockets on this occasion.

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In between a football game threatened to break out.

Martin had a header come back off the crossbar, Junior Morias stabbed one wide and Dipo Akinyemi brought a good save out of ex-Saint Joe Welch.

Martin even had a goal disallowed when he nodded home a Bender cross, but the referee blow for a foul on the keeper.

Johnson’s first strike for City though came from the most likely source.

Lee Chappell’s long throws had already caused problems before the on-loan Stevenage man guided one into the bottom corner just before the half hour.

The second came from a free-kick hurled in from the right to the back post.

Martin rose highest and although his header lacked power, it crept beneath Welch and in.

But if St Albans thought the match was won, they were mistaken.

Chelmsford had two efforts disallowed, both for offside with Mullings causing City problems since his arrival.

Welch was fortunate his return to Clarence Park ended after 90 minutes as he could easily have saw red.

He brought Sam Merson crashing to the ground when the Saints sub was clean through but only saw yellow.

That brought the game to a crashing crescendo with Mullings moving the quickest to head a Chelmsford long throw home.

A booking for Morias brought both benches to their feet with plenty of pushing and shoving on the pitch.

But with the game more closely resembling a cup tie than a Vanarama National League South game, Saints hung on for the three points.

City: Russell, Herd, Bender, Chappell, Martin, Johnson, Lucien (Merson 64), Thomas, Theophanous (Rees 90+3), Morias, Akinyemi

Subs (not used): Ball, Iwediuno, Hoenes

Goals: Johnson 29, Martin 63

Chelmsford: Welch, Miller, Blanchett, Cornhill (Merrifield 73), Bush, Haines (Walsh 34), Willmott, Church, Jeffers, Skelphorn (Mullings 54), Graham

Subs (not used): Daley, Reid

Goals: Mullings 79

Attendance: 541

Referee: Colin Lymer