Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting CWNEWS to 80360 or email us »
Chelmsford City 1 Sutton United 0
6:32pm Monday 25th February 2013 in Sport
EACH Chelmsford City player performed admirably to secure three valuable points according to Manager Glenn Pennyfather, who paid tribute to their efforts in difficult circumstances as a single Rob Edmans goal proved sufficient to defeat a talented Sutton United side at Melbourne Stadium.
The Clarets, without a number of influential players due to injury or suspension, created a plethora of opportunities to score as the winning margin could have been a lot greater, although Edmans’ 25th-minute finish from close range kept up the heat on the top two sides in the division, who both dropped points.
Pennyfather explained that the team huddle at full time was especially joyous as Chelmsford prevailed against adversity.
"We were excellent today while our backs were against the wall a little because we were down to the bare bones with five players missing today,” he explained of his fourth-placed challengers.
“I'm delighted, and I told the players at the very first game of the season that it would take everybody, and everybody will play their part.”
“The players fully deserved it and it was probably as good a 1-0 as you'll see. We could quite easily have won it by four, five or more. But the result is secondary as long as you get the three points - they’re the main thing at this stage of the season.
"Sutton are a strong side, and I have no doubts that they'll be vying for the top spots come the end of the season."
Bradley Hamilton replaced the injured Justin Miller at right-back although Hamilton himself had to make way for David Bridges just before the interval with a hamstring strain.
There was a debut at left-back for young Ipswich Town loanee Joe Whight as regular full-back Aiden Palmer was pushed into midfield to cover for absentee Donovan Simmonds. On the other flank, Anthony Cook was also out, so Edmans deputised in a revised system.
There was an early chance for City’s Max Cornhill on 9 minutes when a decent move involving Kyle Vassell and Omer Riza enabled him to shoot low at goalkeeper Tom Lovelock.
In response, the visitors spurned a brilliant opportunity to take the lead three minutes later through Tom Jordan, who headed over from a corner as his side began to build a sustained period of pressure in the Chelmsford final third.
On the quarter-hour Riza also went close, side-footing over from 15 yards following Hamilton’s low cross from the right.
But the Clarets did steal the initiative within ten minutes as a quickly taken flag kick was tapped to Riza, who clipped a cross to the far post where David Rainford headed back into the goalmouth and Edmans rifled home first time.
Chelmsford seemed capable of carving through the Sutton defence at any time, and several opportunities presented themselves to Edmans shortly afterwards.
Firstly he received possession from Palmer and the United defence stopped to appeal for offside but the striker prodded low at Lovelock. Then, when he charged towards goal again he was brought down on the edge of the area and the resulting free kick was dealt with.
Palmer himself escaped the back line in the 38th minute only for the delivery to him to be just too far in front, while the away side were unlucky four minutes before half time.
Marvin Williams dribbled into the penalty area and teed-up Harry Ottaway but his low drive was inches wide of the upright. Edmans soon poked off-target again when clean through.
At the interval there was a change of match official after Assistant Referee Paul Burnham pulled-up, with former non-league referee Paul Gorrie plucked from the crowd to assume his duties with the flag.
He presided over one of the game’s rare quiet spells until a chance at each end around the 56th minute where some harrying from Edmans led to a point-blank Palmer shot being saved, while Kenny Clark bravely blocked a shot from Ottaway.
Chelmsford were gifted the chance to effectively wrap-up the game on the hour mark when Riza’s heels were clipped in the area, but Rainford’s spot kick along the floor was well gathered by the excellent Lovelock to his right. This enthused the visitors, who went on to send a cross into the box and Ottaway headed narrowly wide.
However, City did continue to create the larger volume of openings and an Edmans lay-off to Palmer resulted in the latter blasting early and over the bar, while Edmans’ own 70th-minute strike brushed the roof of the net on its way over. Riza also cut in from the left and brought another excellent diving save from Lovelock.
Any chance Sutton had of recovering towards the end took a blow nine minutes from time after a second yellow card for defender Michael Boateng, resulting in a dismissal.
That one-man advantage was almost pressed home by City when Palmer’s inch-perfect centre from the left was glanced wide by Vassell against his former club. He’d also go on to cut inside from the right and cause problems in injury time to no avail.
There was a piece of late drama a minute into stoppage time which brought the best out of City goalkeeper Danzell St Louis-Hamilton.
Jamie Stuart jumped to head goalwards and the Chelmsford stopper leapt to his left to push the ball away. That preserved the lead which the Clarets managed to maintain until full time.
Glenn was amazed that there was only one goal converted in the entire fixture, explaining: "It seemed a very open game, and certainly Robbie and Omer were causing a lot of problems with Kyle and Aiden. David and Max won their battles in the middle of the park and had to be disciplined today. The back four was marshalled well by Kenny and Mark.”
“Joe Whight, for a young man making his debut, was excellent. Bradley's come off and I had to put David Bridges in there and he's done a good job for me at right-back.
"Then Danzell's had to play his part at the end to tip that header round the post. Everyone's given a good account of themselves today, and it's an important three points."