Ten-men Chelmsford City beaten by Hemel Hempstead as winless away run continues

Chelmsford City’s winless run away from home was stretched to five games after a 2-0 defeat at Hemel Hempstead.

Tom Wraight twice came close with headers which tested opposing goalkeeper Danny Boness. Chelmsford’s best chance of the game came with six minutes left of the first half when Wraight somehow put Billy Knott’s fizzing cross wide.

Despite Chelmsford City’s dominance, the hosts were given a lifeline late in the first half when Clarets defender Adrian Cascaval was shown a straight red card for an alleged elbow against Alex Wall.

The Clarets did have defender Tom Gardiner at their disposal on the substitute’s bench but, despite playing two players out of their natural position, the former St Albans City man was not introduced to the game.

That decision ultimately cost the Clarets when a shanked clearance straight to Luke Howells allowed Sam Ashford to run forward and beat Carl Pentney from close range on 75 minutes.

Five minutes later and the hosts doubled their lead. Having been introduced as a substitute, Jeffers was caught napping inside the penalty area and bundled Ashford over to concede a spot-kick. Midson stepped up and rolled the ball home from the penalty spot.

City boss Rod Stringer made one change to the side as the absence of Elliot Omozusi led to a slightly-makeshift defence. Chris Whelpdale filled in at right-back, Jonny Giles returned to the starting eleven and Chez Isaac returned to the substitute’s bench.

In a fairly contested first fifteen minutes, either side had chances to open the scoring.

Danny Phillips came close to opening the scoring for the home side, he cut inside against his marker and bent a show narrowly wide of the post. The Tudors midfielder arrived at just the right moment a few minutes later as he headed away Wraight’s looping header from the goal-line.

Wraight came close again on 25 minutes as he powered a header towards the goal; however, Danny Boness sprung to his left to claw away the accurate headed effort from Adrian Cascaval’s pinpoint cross.

Sammy Moore’s side came closest to opening the scoring in the first half when Ashford delivered a teasing cross into the box. The Clarets were unable to deal with the inviting cross but were relieved when Midson’s header across goal was left without being converted.

Billy Knott’s fizzed cross into the penalty area should have been fired home by Wraight at the far-post on 37 minutes; somehow, he managed to side-foot the ball beyond the opposite post from three yards out.

Stringer’s side was made to pay four minutes later when Alex Wall went down clutching his face after an aerial challenge from Cascaval. After consulting his assistant, referee Scott Tallis brandished a red card to the City defender much to the protests of the Clarets chief.

The hosts had to make a substitution early in the second half as Wall, making his first start for Hemel Hempstead since joining due to injury, was forced off with what seemed a fairly serious injury.

After Cascaval’s dismissal before the interval, it was the home side who were dominant. Phillips came close with a long-range effort which flew just over the crossbar, Ashford then linked up with Phillips but the midfielder had a shot blocked.

Wheldale, featuring at right-back, tested Hemel’s reactions with a lashed cross on 63 minutes. The Tudors’ captain, Connor Essam, hastily flicked away the deep cross with Wraight waiting to convert at the far post.

Substitute Isaac Galliford almost made an immediate impact as he drove a shot towards goal seconds after coming on. The ball skidded on the grass and spilt up into Pentney’s hands, forcing the City ‘keeper into making a reactionary save.

But, not too long afterwards, Chelmsford City fell behind. As the Clarets failed to clear their lines, Howells’ spread the ball forward to Ashford who strode forward and slid a low shot underneath Pentney.

Five minutes later, Chelmsford’s deficit doubled. After a clumsy tackle on Ashford by substitute Shaun Jeffers, Midson stepped up and rolled the ball home from twelve yards to register a fourth home win in five matches and extend the Clarets’ poor run of form away from home.

Hemel Hempstead Town: Boness, Popo (Sundire 78), Howells, Phillips (Galliford 63), Essam, Dickenson, Nash, Howell, Wall (German 49), Midson, Ashford. Unused Subs: Kpohomouh.

Chelmsford City: Pentney, Shaw (Loza 77), Church, Spillane, Cascaval, Giles (Higgins 68), Whelpdale, Wraight, Knott (Jeffers 58), Muldoon, Simpson. Unused Subs: Gardiner, Isaac.