Honours even in the Essex derby

Braintree Town v Chelmsford City – Vanarama National League South – Dunmow Group Stadium – Report

Braintree Town 2-2 Chelmsford City

2023 began with local rivalry resumed as Braintree Town and Chelmsford City played out a highly entertaining 2-2 draw at the Dunmow Group Stadium, this following on from Clarets’ 2-0 home win against the Iron on Boxing Day although on this performance, with Braintree having more than enough chances to win the game, it will be Robbie Simpson’s men who will be the happiest with the point gained on the day as they maintained their hold on fourth position – just inside the play-off spots.

Angelo Harrop made four changes to his starting line-up with Kyran Farrell, Alfie Payne, Aaron Blair and Lamar Reynolds coming in for Jack Cawley, Jon Benton, Alfie Matthews and Jack Paxman.

With Kai Yearn being recalled from loan by parent club Cambridge United, new signing from Dover Athletic Arjanit Krasniqi came straight into the Chelmsford side, whilst Reece Grant and Eduino Vaz replaced Simeon Jackson and Henry Ochieng, respectively.

Mid-way through the first half, Clarets took the lead when former Millwall stalwart Liam Trotter’s exceptional cross-field ball found Vaz, whose pinpoint cross was headed home by Tom Blackwell.

With Braintree pushing forward and creating chances, their pressure paid off when the Chelmsford defence failed to clear Bermudan international Willie Clemons long throw and Kyran Clements tapped the ball home in stoppage time to send the two sides in level at 1-1 at the break.

Farrell went close for the Iron just after the resumption when he picked the ball up out wide following a corner before his shot forced Arsenal loanee keeper Ovie Ejeheri into a fine save. A quick counterattack saw Ejeheri roll the ball to Vaz to fire the ball long for Reece Grant to run on and slot the ball past Jack Sims to restore Chelmsford’s lead, just four minutes into the second half. 

Braintree’s equaliser when it came was sensational. Lamar Reynold’s twenty-five-yard volley with the outside of his boot flew into the top left-hand corner of the net past Ejeheri just short of the hour mark and will certainly be a major contender for the club’s goal of the season.

Substitute Simeon Jackson headed against the bar from Tom Blackwell’s free kick in the seventy-fifth minute but aside from this effort, Braintree dominated proceedings and continued to pile forward in search of a winner. With just two minutes left on the clock, Baris Altintop had a great to seal the three points for the Iron – only to shoot straight at Ejeheri from five yards out.

A top-class game of football and a great advertisement for the Vanarama National League South and both clubs will almost certainly be there and thereabouts in the promotion mix come the end of the season.

Braintree Town: Sims, Clemons, Farrell, Altintop, White (Capt.) Clements, Davies, Payne, Blair (Benton 60’) Reynolds, Rush (Regis 80’) Subs not used: Cawley, Paxman, Matthews

Chelmsford City: Ejeheri, James, Barnum-Bobb (Ochieng 69’) Trotter, Winfield (Capt.) Lodovica (Jones 63’) Blackwell, Grant (Jackson 63’) Vaz, Terry, Krasniqi. Subs not used: Da Costa, Hockey

Referee: Oliver Mackey

Assistants: Richard Carter and Joseph Turnpenny

Attendance: 1,453