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Clarets leave it late to win

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: September 20, 2012

  • Chelmsford City v Weston-super-Mare chelmsford city fc, melbourne stadium, salerno way chelmsford, Essex CM1 2EH

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THE CLARETS overcame Weston-super-Mare after two late strikes from Dave Rainford and Joel Ledgister helped them overcome Ross Stearn's 19th minute opener.

Chelmsford were below par in the first half according to manager Glenn Pennyfather but he was pleased with the way they reacted after the interval as they turned the game around and made it three home wins in a row.

He said: "I think we deserved it on the strength of the second half performance – in the first half we were dreadful to be perfectly honest. I'm not a ranter and a raver – I try to be constructive in everything I do – but I struggled to find anything constructive to talk about at half-time. I was so disappointed in their lack of urgency and work rate."

Another injury, this time to central defender Kenny Clark, meant right-back Justin Miller was shifted to the middle with the captain's armband, as Jordan Parkes stepped into the subsequent gap as Richard Brindley was unavailable.

In midfield, Warren Whitely got his first league start of the season to replace the suspended Anthony Cook out wide, while Joel Ledgister was added ahead of Craig Parker.

Pennyfather had predicted Weston would be hard to break down and that prospect became doubly difficult when the visitors took the lead.

Nabi Diallo was instrumental in the right-flank build-up as he supplied Chas Hemmings who, in turn, laid off to Stearn ten yards from goal. He made no mistake in directing his low side-footed shot underneath Clarets goalkeeper Stuart Searle.

It was Searle who then prevented further dismay on 27 minutes. A Weston corner from the right was arrowed towards the edge of the area where Jamie Price met it on the volley and forced Searle into a superb diving save. It kept City in the game, although their hopes of a goal were damaged when top scorer Jamie Slabber had to leave the pitch early with a slight groin injury in the 35th minute.

There had already been a noticeable improvement in their performance after the interval, even before Parker and Rainford climbed from the bench. Three minutes into the second half there was brief excitement when Ishmael Welsh's chipped, far-post cross from the left was knocked into the goal by Anthony Church, but he used his hand and he received a yellow card as a result.

The Somerset side took every opportunity to run down the clock while they held an advantage, taking the ball to the corner of the pitch as early as the 73rd minute, but the introduction of Parker and Rainford added new impetus. Just four minutes after he entered the pitch, Rainford got his head to a long Miller throw-in a few yards out and powered home a 75th-minute equaliser.

From that point it was a case of whether Chelmsford could add to their tally. There was extra energy and intent in the Clarets' attacks as they suddenly sensed the chance to take all three points. So Melbourne erupted when Aiden Palmer's accurate corner on 79 minutes was headed in at the near post by young striker Ledgister for his first competitive City goal.

Admittedly, Chelmsford then enjoyed the luxurious position of being able to run the ball towards the corner flag themselves as time ticked away.

Weston were now in a rush to get the ball forward, meaning they were occasionally susceptible in defence. A sliced clearance from keeper Lloyd Irish landed at Parker's feet on 89 minutes, who was unable to capitalise in a frenzied 60 seconds.

The next phase of the same move saw Parker dribble between defenders and strike at Irish from just inside the box but, as Weston broke on the counter, Bridges received a second booking for a foul and referee Stuart Butler had no choice but to send him off.

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