Chelmsford City hope to make it third time lucky

GLENN Pennyfather believes his Chelmsford City side has that crucial play-off ingredient – momentum – as they look to make it through the promotion play-offs at the third time of asking.

Five wins out of their last six matches booked City’s place in the two-legged semi-finals after it seemed as if the Clarets had blown their chances of finishing in the top five.

Now, where Hampton & Richmond and Bath City conquered before, Ebbsfleet United will be hoping to inflict more misery on Chelmsford, starting with the first leg at Melbourne Stadium tonight (7.45pm ko).

But Pennyfather is only interested in the then and now, and it is pretty rosy at the moment after three straight victories and a place in the play-offs sealed in Saturday’s win over, ironically, Hampton.

The City boss said: “It is an exciting time and we are looking forward to the two matches. We have worked so hard for 10 months and it is great to now be in this position. We are pleased to go into the play-offs with momentum, especially as the last two seasons we have limped into the last four.”

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After suffering some big injuries to key players all season, the curse has struck City again after big striker Rod Edmans broke his leg on Saturday.

He was replaced by Ali Chaaban and the former Staines man could well come in from the start tonight. But the big question is whether Pennyfather turns to skipper Dave Rainford who has missed the last month. Rainford had to settle for a place as an unused sub against Hampton by a cautious Pennyfather but the midfielder is raring to go.

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Ebbsfleet boss Liam Daish, the former Cambridge United defender and Republic of Ireland international, is facing something of a goalkeeping crisis with regular custodian, Preston Edwards, struggling with an ankle injury and Gillingham youth team keeper, Daren Hawkes, only at Stonebridge Road on work-experience terms, meaning he could be recalled to Priestfield at any time.

With both sides having won the away league fixture this season, Pennyfather added: “Both sides like to play good football but I don’t expect too much quality in either game. We know it is a lottery but it is about who performs over the two games and sometimes who has that little bit of lady luck. The play-offs are all about tense, nervy, but exciting, matches.”

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