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REPORT - Chelmsford City 1 Basingstoke Town 0
BASINGSTOKE Town’s hit-and-miss season continued at Chelmsford on Saturday, Jason Bristow’s men failing to score for a fourth consecutive game and going down to another narrow defeat.
Chelmsford substitute Rob Edmans scored the winner with 10 minutes to go, condemning goal-shy Town to a third defeat in four outings.
Basingstoke boss Jason Bristow named an unchanged side. The biggest surprise was possibly his decision to stick with striker Robbie Matthews, but the target man almost repaid his manager’s faith inside the first minute, getting up to meet a cross from the right but heading over the crossbar.
At the other end, Chelmsford’s Nicky Nicolau was causing problems down the left and his cross found debutant striker Luke Callander, but he could only volley over.
Town’s best chance of the match came after 20 minutes, as a slip in the Chelmsford defence allowed Manny Williams to get on the end of Wes Daly’s through-ball. He was left with only goalkeeper Carl Pentney to beat, but his shot lacked conviction and the ’keeper was able to save at his feet.
Chances were coming at both ends, with Callander handed another good opening by Joe Ward. This time the striker shot straight at Louis Wells.
Matthews should have done better at the other end, diverting Daly’s cross wide from the edge of the six-yard box, while the same player then opted to shoot from distance when Town were breaking and had men over.
A similar opportunity presented itself to the hosts soon after. Jay Gasson was caught on the ball and two Chelmsford attackers were baring down on Wells, with just David Ray back for Town. Ward was unmarked and would have had a tap-in, but Callander chose to shoot and his weak effort was comfortably saved, meaning the game remained goal-less at the break.
Williams had the first sight of goal in the second half, but his shot was too close to Pentney after an excellent turn midway inside the Chelmsford half.
An even better chance fell to Gasson from a corner, but the centre-back’s powerful low shot flashed narrowly wide after Pentney had flapped at the cross.
Chelmsford were on the back foot but they went close when substitute Bagasan Graham’s deflected shot bounced just the wrong side of the posts.
The game looked set to end 0-0, but Chelmsford snatched all three points with 10 minutes to go. A ball over the top turned Gasson and Ray around and the visitors never got enough men back to clear the danger.
Edmans collected the ball and held it up before passing to Nicolau, whose cross found Kieran St. Aimie at the back post. He headed across goal and Edmans was there to coolly slot home.
Town threw men forward late on but their best chance fell to Neil Barrett, who could only head wide from a corner, while the hosts looked dangerous on the break.
Graham saw another deflected shot fly narrowly wide, while Edmans was denied by Wells in injury-time after two other home players refused perhaps better opportunities to shoot.
Chelmsford City: Pentney, Long, Redwood, Lock, McAuley, Smith, Ward (sub Graham 64min), Hughes, Callander (sub Edmans 74min), St. Aimie (sub Davis 86min), Nicolau. Subs (not used): Brayley, Forecast.
Basingstoke Town: Wells, Smart, Green, Barrett, Gasson, Ray, Daly, McAuley (sub Holder-Spooner 63min), Matthews, Williams, Dunn (sub Jenkinson 69min). Subs (not used): Rice, Ibe, Adams.
Basingstoke Town are in Hampshire Senior Cup action tomorrow night, travelling to Bournemouth Poppies. Keep up to date with their progress, with live text updates from Dorset at basingstokegazette.co.uk/sport.