CHELMSFORD City lost their first league match in almost two months as they surrendered more ground in the National League South title race at St Albans City.

The Clarets were beaten 2-1 in Hertfordshire, with Kudus Oyenuga’s goal not enough for Rod Stringer’s team after goals from Kieran Monlouis and Layne Eadie gave the hosts a 2-0 lead at half-time.

Stringer named an unchanged side to the team that drew 2-2 with Braintree Town on New Year’s Day, and it was the away team that started the better of the two.

Shaun Batt fired a warning shot wide of Dean Snedker’s goal from Chris Dickson’s chest down, however the Clarets were unable to convert their early pressure into an opening goal.

St Albans took the lead against the run of play after 17 minutes. Some neat interplay saw the ball drop to Monlouis inside the box and he struck past goalkeeper Sam Beasant via a deflection.

Chelmsford fought back, with their three-pronged attack failing to break down a resilient home defence.

Chris Dickson glanced a header wide from Oyenuga’s cross before Anthony Church’s double shot was blocked by Tarik Moore-Azelle.

Dickson almost found himself through when he ran onto Batt’s knock-down, but the danger was cleared and St Albans were to make the visitors pay.

David Noble’s forward pass found space for Eadie to run onto and the full-back calmly shot beyond Beasant to double St Albans’ lead.

At the start of the second half, Dickson spurned a golden opportunity to get Chelmsford back into the clash when he missed the target, and they were grateful to St Albans for equal profligacy up the other end.

First Monlouis cut inside on the edge-of-the-box before dragging wide, while Eadie shot straight into Beasant’s hands not long after.

Stringer’s team survived a penalty call after Craig Braham-Barrett seemed to handle in the area but the Clarets were to leave it too late to get back into the match.

Five minutes after spurning a golden chance to reduce arrears, Oyenuga reacted quickest to an Anthony Church knock down to poke the ball home to create a lifeline.

But that was to be as good as it good for Chelmsford.

Chelmsford City: Beasant, Braham-Barrett, Graham (Green 68’), Omozusi, Spillane, Smith, Church, Davies, Oyenuga, Dickson (Barnard 63’), Batt (Giles 52’)