Bird header earns Rebels point at Chelmsford

Chelmsford City

Chelmsford City

Chidyausiku (60)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Bird (66)
League Attendance: 866 Sam Togwell
On yet another blustery day Slough made the long trip up to Chelmsford – and made it five consecutive away games without defeat with this draw.

With Warren Harris unavailable, new signing Paul Hodges came straight into the starting line-up, often swapping positions with Matt Lench from right midfield to a central attacking midfield role.

With the pitch surrounded by an athletics track, the game was often at the mercy of the wind with little to no protection. Combined with an uneven pitch bouncing the ball around in every direction, both sides struggled to build any sustained periods of play.

The first chance of the game came the Rebels’ way with Max Worsfold getting past his defender and whipping in an excellent cross which Dan Roberts was millimetres away from connecting with.

Chelmsford had their first chance on 13 minutes, when a corner was headed by Joseph Chidyausiku onto the back of Max Worsfold and luckily only out for another corner.

Despite the wind and the considerable height of the Chelmsford team, Slough were getting joy from Guy Hollis’s long throws. One was brought down by Roberts for Ryan Bird to hit on the turn, but his effort was blocked. The ball came out to Worsfold who set himself before also seeing his shot blocked.

Worsfold was causing the hosts’ defence problems all afternoon and on 24 minutes, when switched onto the right wing, he broke into the box. Getting to the by-line whilst being pushed in the back he found a cross towards Paul Hodges but unfortunately unlike his opposition he wasn’t tall enough to get a head onto it.

With both sides starting to get frustrated at the lack of opportunities, George Wells tried his luck from 30 yards but his curling side footed effort was tame and into Laurie Walker’s arms.

On 41 minutes a battle between Worsfold and young Chelmsford right back Danny Imray saw the latter just keep the ball in play by the corner flag, allowing Lee Togwell to nick it and find space for a shot. However, like many other Lee Togwell shots it went over the bar without troubling the keeper.

Chelmsford came mightily close to an opener a minute later. Tom Wraight battled down his left side and got past Josh Jackman, delivering a low cross to Leroy Lita inside the six yard box. With the goal at his mercy, the former Reading man managed to chip the ball straight into Jack Turner’s grateful hands.

Slough had the final chance of the half. A free kick from Lench was headed back by Bird to Roberts, whose shot was blocked by an arm but it didn’t matter as the offside flag had already been raised at the striker’s expense.

The second half started with a chance for the Rebels. Roberts kept the ball in play by the corner flag and found Hodges on the edge of the box. Taking a touch to set his left foot, Hodges found a good shot but put it narrowly wide.

On 50 minutes Chelmsford carved themselves a decent chance after a minute of good build up. However, Ollie Muldoon skied his effort over the bar after a nice lay-off from Billy Knott.

A few minutes later Roberts found himself in behind the defence from a long ball forward by Josh Jackman. Getting the ball on to his favoured left, Roberts managed to drag his shot wide across goal. Moments after that a good cross into the box held up in the wind and gave Sam Togwell a headed opportunity which ended the wrong side of the post.

But Chelmsford got the opener on 60 minutes. A long ball forward caught in the swirling and ever changing wind, deceiving Bird. The ball flew over his head, and Jack Turner then rushed out but was beaten to the ball by Joseph Chidyausiku who then did well to hold off Guy Hollis and score into the empty net.

The lead lasted only six minutes before Bird atoned for his error.

Good play down the right with combinations from Lench, Worsfold and Roberts allowed Worsfold to get in behind the defence but as he looked up to pick out a cross and create an opportunity, the referee’s whistle blew for a Slough free kick instead. Matt Lench took it and judged his delivery perfectly with the ball holding up in the wind for Bird to rise highest and head home from a few yards out.

The Rebels then had a chance to take the lead a few minutes later when Bird controlled a long throw for Worsfold to shoot, but his effort lacked power and Walker was down at his post to save.

Moments after that came another great chance to take the lead. Roberts controlled a long ball forward and initially held off Imray to create a chance to shoot, but as he did was clearly pulled back by the right back, resulting in a weak effort which Walker parried. Roberts, who as a result had been pulled to the ground, was up quickest and first to the rebound but was off-balance and again couldn’t find the power or accuracy.

Both sides began making changes as the play slowed down again. That was until the 85th minute when Slough worked the ball down their left side, but having committed players on that side there was only Lee Togwell in the middle to receive the cross. He held the ball up until Lench joined him, but saw a shot blocked after finding space. Moments later, Hodges beat his man on the right and put in a tempting cross but no Slough player could get on the end of it.

With only a minute left, Turner conceded a cheap corner when he looked to clear a back pass but it bobbled up at the last second with the ball coming off his shin. That corner was very nearly capitalised on by Chelmsford, but with a flicked header to the back post no one was there to convert.

The match ended all square, and Slough drop to third but remain ahead of Wednesday’s opponents Havant & Waterlooville.

Report: Will Tuck

Chelmsford City Lineup

Laurie Walker, Frazer Shaw, Taofiq Olomowewe, Joseph Chidyausiku (Shaun Jeffers 85), Tom Wraight (c), Billy Knott (Tom Knowles 77), Leroy Lita, Danny Imray, Chez Isaac (Anthony Church 69), Ollie Muldoon, Elliot Ward. Unused substitutes: Troy Brown, Jonny Giles.


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