Saturday, October 21, 2006

Chelmsford City FC

Chelmsford City 1 Maidstone United 2 - FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round



The Modern town of Chelmsford was created in the Middle Ages. At the time of the Doomsday Book (1086) the land on the site of the modern town centre belonged to the Bishop of London. About 1100 Bishop Maurice built a bridge across the River Can. As a result traffic which used to travel through Writtle was now diverted through Chelmsford. Then, in 1199, Bishop William obtained a charter from the king. The charter gave the bishop the right to hold a weekly market near the bridge. In those days there were very few shops and if you wished to buy or sell anything you had to go to a market. Once the market was up and running merchants and craftsmen would come to live in Chelmsford. So a town was born. In the 19th century Chelmsford became established as a centre of trade and industry. Guglielmo Marconi established the world's first radio factory in Chelmsford in 1899, and the town was also the birthplace of broadcasting, as the location for Dame Nellie Melba's pioneering radio recital in 1920.


The Pieman first saw football in the town in 1986 at the club's former ground 'New Writtle Street' (right) which was situated next to the County Cricket ground. After a period of time sharing the facilities at Billericay Town's 'New Lodge', it is good to see Chelmsford City back playing in the town at Chelmsford Sport & Athletics Centre. We travelled via London Liverpool Street and in both directions caught Norwich intercity services. Buses 54 & 56 from directly outside Chelmsford station will take you to the bottom of Salerno Way from where you can see the ground a few hundred yards away.

Aerial photograph taken prior to Chelmsford City moving to the stadium

The club have clearly done a lot of work in getting this athletics venue up to the required standard for senior football. The main stand is excellent but you will pay a little more to sit here. On the opposite side there is further seating but the downside of this is that this area is lower and your view could be obscured by standing spectators. Directly behind each goal is some limited temporary terracing which does assist the fans in providing some atmosphere - the travelling Maidstone United fans certainly took advantage of this with vociferous chanting throughout the match. It certainly reflected the remarkable return of the former football league club, having gone under some years back.


The start of the match was delayed by 15 minutes whilst the ground staff marked the penalty areas. It appears that the Maidstone United keeper, Pat Mullin, had noticed that the penalty area was too small. Chelmsford took the lead early in the match but were pegged back just before the break. In blustery conditions both teams struggled to make the important breakthrough but with two minutes left Maidstone scored a fine goal. There was still time for former Spurs man Jeff Minton to miss a penalty for Chelmsford who also missed a sitter before the end.





Attendance: 859
Admission: £9:00
Programme: £2:00
Hotspur's Burger: £2.50
Bus from station: £2.80 return
Fare: £4.15 cheap day return from Boundary Zone 6 with Gold card discount


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