Chelmsford City: An FA Cup Masterclass
On Saturday, 3rd November, Chelmsford City Football Club from the Conference South embarked on their biggest F.A Cup tie to date (arguably!).
I have supported Chelmsford City since the 2008/09 season, my first match was at home to A.F.C Wimbledon, the eventual winners of the league, and was hooked ever since that 3-2 win. I’ve been through some depressing times with the Clarets, and also experienced pure elation, such as winning the Essex Senior Cup in 2008, beating East Thurrock in the F.A Cup replay on penalties this season, and beating our local rivals Colchester Untied from down the A12.
When we were drawn out of the hat at Wembley Stadium and it read ‘Chelmsford City vs Colchester United’ I was ecstatic. The thought of an Essex derby was a good enough pull, and the fact that we could potentially reach the second round of the F.A Cup three years in a row sounded excellent, with playing Wycombe Wanderers away in 2010/11 and Macclesfield at home and away last season.
So, onto the match, and in front of a capacity crowd of 3,016 at Melbourne Stadium, every Clarets supporter was in for a great spectacle, and a game they would never forget. The atmosphere was building from the ground as soon as the turnstiles opened at noon. When the infamous pre-match song was sounded out I was very excited.
When I was handed the team sheet, I was a little anxious that our on-loan striker Robbie Edmans, who has played really well on his return to the club, was injured. However, our new(ish) signing Donovan Simmonds stepped up to the plate along with our top scorer Jamie Slabber. Prior to this big F.A Cup first round proper clash, Simmonds hadn’t scored for us and was on a seven goal drought – so it was written in the stars, wasn’t it?
We started really positively, withstanding some early pressure from Colchester winger Sanchez Watt, who was on-loan from Arsenal and forward Ibehre, although our two central defenders in Kenny Clark and Justin Miller stepped up and made sure they were counted.
On 26 minutes, Donovan Simmonds was set up, and lobbed Chelmsford born U ‘keeper Cousins from 25 yards for a goal he’d never forget. We went into half-time 1-0 up, and couldn’t believe it. There was non-stop singing from the Claret army throughout the game!
Colchester United then settled into the game come after the break, and started to dominate the midfield. However, when Simmonds was put through on goal again, he bravely headed home from just inside the box to send Chelmsford 2-0 up, then we showed our dominance, and in truth, still looked comfortable and at home throughout the match.
The U’s gave us a scare, as Michael Rose curled in a spectacular free-kick from just outside the box to make the score 2-1, with twenty minutes left.
Anthony Cook picked up the ball in the centre of the pitch to set up Simmonds who expertly controlled to then set up forward Jamie Slabber, who finessed into the top corner. Every single Clarets player was superb and gave a great technical and hearty display.
That sent the Claret army well and truly mental, and a chorus of ‘Grey haired Glenn’s Claret army’ rang out from the terraces, and the Colchester fans had enough and headed home.
Glenn is our manager by the way!
This made all Claret fans sit round the tele or at the pubs to see who we would get in the second round draw on ITV at 2:40 PM. We drew Crawley Town away, who at the time of writing, are third in League One. I am incredibly pleased with the draw – it’s winnable and will no doubt be a great day out.
This is my fifth season of watching the Carets, and I’ve never seen a game quite like it. It was a historic day in the clubs history, and one to be remembered! Highlights are here for those interested. Definitely worth a watch! Video courtesy of Visions International.