Brian Jeeves reporting from the Melbourne Stadium
CHELMSFORD City manager, Rod Stringer, was bitterly disappointed after the Clarets Buildbase FA Trophy run was brought to its conclusion by an impressive Tranmere Rovers side at the Melbourne Stadium.
The Clarets preparations were hampered by an accident that saw many of the players gridlocked as the city’s roads came to a standstill. Indeed, striker, Chris Dickson, had to be omitted from the starting line-up after arriving late at the ground: “If ever I’ve had a game of football that has gone against me, that was it tonight, Stringer said. “I’m not knocking the players. I thought the boys went out and had a go. However, we’ve conceded four goals and that is something we haven’t done for a while. To be fair to Tranmere, they have picked us off on a few occasions and finished the tie. They don’t waste their opportunities, they are quite clinical.
“Obviously we have come up against a good side tonight and we were outstanding on Saturday. We’ve had to try to produce that again tonight, but it has been tough for us in more way than one.
“Due to the bad accident, I was still waiting for players to get to the ground at as the kick-off approached. I’m not making excuses, but it was difficult to prepare without knowing if the players were going to be able to make it in time.”
Nevertheless, the Clarets chief was mindful that their opponents had been clinical, adding: “Once we’ve got out there we’ve huffed and puffed. We gave them a game. When I look back at it, Tranmere probably score all of their chances. I don’t think we have been cut open, I don’t think they’ve peppered us or our goalkeeper has had to make loads of great saves. We just displayed a bit of naivety tonight, probably at a time when we looked the better side.
“I was disappointed that we didn’t push on at 3-1. If we’d got another one, who knows? We could have had a big 15-20 minutes with the crowd right behind us. We might have stayed in the game.”
But Stringer urged his charges to put the Trophy exit behind them and make this a season to remember, saying: “My players have been incredible. They have had a great FA Trophy run, we were undone by a little bit of quality. What I’ve seen at this club this season is a lot of passion and desire. The team know that the Trophy run is at an end and we now have to try to make something of the league.”