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Chelmsford strike late to send National League Bees to replay

Publish Date:06/11/2022
Fact checked by: Mike McKean

National League Barnet were unable to hold onto their lead against Chelmsford City - Credit: Barnet FC

By Aaron Jaffe 

Charlie Ruff's 92nd-minute equaliser ensured Chelmsford City's name will be in the hat for the FA Cup Second Round draw, after a dramatic First Round clash against National League Barnet.

The Bees made two changes to the side that were smashed 3-0 by a rampant Southend, with Sam Beard replacing Sam Woods and skipper Dale Gorman coming back into the side after suspension.

Barnet got off to the best of starts when Gorman found Okimo from outside the box. His header back into the centre of the box was flicked into the net by Nicke Kabamba, only for the referee to immediately disallow it to offside.

The National League side had the better of chances in the first 25 minutes, with efforts from Sean Shields, Harry Pritchard and Ryan De Havilland all saved by Arsenal loanee Ovie Ejeheri.

Former Canadian international and Premier League striker Simeon Jackson was the first to have a proper chance for the Clarets, his shot tipped onto the post by Laurie Walker.

Danny Collinge was very unfortunate to not open the scoring when he connected with Gorman's free kick, and was saved by the outstretched fingertip of Ejeheri.

Jackson missed a golden chance to grab the first goal for Chelmsford. Walker parried a low shot from distance, and the Canadian was first onto the rebound, only to blaze it over from such close range.

But the Bees were on the upper hand as the teams went in for the interval. Idris Kanu and Kabamba were finding plenty of space to exploit and test Ejeheri from.

Barnet finally capitalised from their sustained pressure, and it was a similar goal to the one disallowed in the first minute. This time, the roles were reversed, and Kabamba's header back into the box met Ben Wynter who redirected it into the back of the net.

Wynter then found De Havilland minutes later through on goal, but Ejeheri stood his ground and parried it away from danger. It only took another five minutes for the former Fulham man to find himself one-on-one with the Arsenal loanee that saved two penalties last December to beat the Ipswich senior team with the U21 side. Again Ejeheri came out on top with a fantastic save at full stretch.

Chelmsford player-manager Robbie Simpson hurled on his substitutes in search of an equaliser with Tom Blackwell, Khale da Costa and Louis Dunne all coming into the attack.

It was the Nigerian goalkeeper again who prevented Barnet from sealing the game, this time substitute Rob Hall's effort swept away.

But it was traditional Barnet and traditional FA Cup without some dramatics before the final whistle. Deep into added time, Barnet naively gave away the ball attempting to time-waste in the corner. Ejeheri sent the ball forward to Blackwell, his shot saved by Walker for a corner. The resulting corner was bundled in by Charlie Ruff, wheeling away to celebrate with the jubilant travelling support.

It was a goal that gives them such an advantage heading into the replay, a game against the Bees from the luxury of their home turf and backed by their loyal home supporters.

Barnet will have to step their game up with no win in their last three games and will travel to Altrincham on Tuesday night. They then face another trip to Manchester again on Saturday to play against Oldham at Boundary Park, before the one-hour journey to Melbourne Stadium where they will need to attempt to see off the Clarets properly this time.

Chelmsford have 48 hours to recover, hosting Dover Athletic on Monday night and then Hampton & Richmond on Saturday. Having won six in their last seven before this FA Cup tie, they will be full of confidence with this result from the Hive London.

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