Clarets inflict rare away defeat on City

City suffered just their fourth away league defeat of the season this afternoon as play-off rivals Chelmsford City ran out 3-1 winners at the Melbourne Stadium.

The home side shaded the opening exchanges and it took a great block from Jordan Dyer on 12 minutes to divert Ruff’s goalbound shot over the bar. Shortly afterwards City captain Kieran Parselle suffered an ankle injury that, after initially trying to play through, forced him from the action, with Jack Batten replacing him in the centre of defence. As the half progressed City began to enjoy more of the possession without troubling Gray in the Clarets goal. Just when it looked like the game would reach half-time goalless Chelmsford grabbed the lead out of nothing. Brookes’ free-kick was punched clear by Will Buse but the ball dropped perfectly for Castiglione to try his luck from 30 yards and the effort flew into the net. Dan Hayfield finally tested Gray with a stoppage time shot but City went into the break trailing.

However, within 40 seconds of the restart they equalised. Elliott Frear’s cross picked out Scott Wilson in the six-yard box and he held off a defender before firing past Gray. Parity lasted only eight minutes though as City failed to clear Brookes’ corner allowing Francis to head past Buse. City should have levelled again within two minutes as Ewan Clark’s cross picked out Frear but his header back across goal flashed wide with Gray beaten. In contrast to the first-half both sides began to create openings and with eight minutes left Chelmsford struck again, Hockey firing home after the ball broke to him the box, to strengthen their grip on second place.