Chelmsford City (1) 3 Bath City (0) 1 – Saturday 16 March 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Melbourne Stadium

Chelmsford City (1) 3 Bath City (0) 1 – Saturday 16 March 2024 – Vanarama National League South – Melbourne Stadium

Match Report by Mark Stillman.

Chelmsford completed the double over Bath City, who saw Kieran Parselle hobble off to add to their injury worries.

The captain left the stadium on crutches following a damaged ankle in the first half.

In his absence, Josh Castiglione’s stunning volley put the hosts ahead, before Scott Wilson levelled 35 seconds into the second half.

Further goals from substitutes Jermaine Francis and Freddie Hockey sealed the win for the hosts, moving them to seven points behind leaders Yeovil Town.

City travelled to Essex minus leading scorer Cody Cooke (calf), Richard Chin (hamstring) and Luke Russe (knee), with Chris Lines loaned out to Yate Town.

It left them with four subs and Jerry Gill was soon looking at his bench.

Parselle landed heavily from heading away Ben Brookes’ corner in the opening exchanges. He bravely fought on, somehow deflecting Charlie Ruff’s goalbound effort over after City switched off from a quick free-kick, but he admitted defeat on 20 minutes and was replaced by Jack Batten.

The hosts took a 43rd minute lead in sublime fashion. Brookes’ free-kick was headed on by Luke Jenkins but Will Buse confidently punched clear.

His joy was quickly extinguished as the ball landed directly on the laces of Castiglione, who volleyed over the top of a crowded box from 25 yards to break the deadlock.

Dan Hayfield produced City’s first shot on target in first half added time when Wilson’s lay-off saw him try his luck from outside the box, but it was too close to keeper Henry Gray who batted the stinging effort away.

Having ended the half strongly, the Romans started it in similar vein, scoring 35 seconds after the restart.

Dan Greenslade found Elliott Frear on the left, who skipped past Francis before pulling back to Wilson.

The forward was surrounded by Claret shirts but showed excellent balance to leave Jenkins grounded before slamming past Gray from close range.

City were only on terms for seven minutes. Brookes’ corner was headed away by Batten but straight to Francis, who barely had to move to nod home from 10 yards – a gift for the Grenada international who turned 22 a day before.

Gill’s side should have had a second equaliser on 55 minutes. Ewan Clark skipped past Brooks with ease and whipped in a super delivery for the onrushing Frear, who contrived to head wide from six yards.

Hockey and Jenkins failed to test Buse from good positions before City upped the tempo, forcing three quick corners which concluded with Jordan Dyer stabbing Frear’s delivery wide.

It proved costly as Robbie Simpson’s charges made it 3-1 with seven minutes left.

Ruff rode a challenge of Dyer which saw the ball run loose to Hockey, who stepped inside and drove home his first home goal of the season, adding to his brace at Twerton Park last December.

Understandably it left the visitors deflated, confirming only a fourth away defeat this term.

Att: 1042

City’s Line-Up: Buse, Raynes, Greenslade, Dyer, Parselle (c) (Batten 19), Clark, Hayfield, Smith, Frear (Yeboah 84), Wilson, Alabi (Vassell 76). Sub not used: Casa-Grande.

Scorers: City – Wilson (46); Chelmsford – Castiglione (43), Francis (52), Hockey (83)

City Bookings: none

Officials: S Hughes, R Dix, J Langley-Fineing