The final unbeaten league record in the top six divisions of English football was surrendered with barely a whimper at Clarence Park on Saturday as Chelmsford City chalked up a comfortable 2-0 National League South victory over a completely out of sorts St Albans City.

Chelmsford were two goals to the good by the interval on a bitterly cold afternoon and, save for a farcical dive by Devante Stanley in an attempt to win a penalty, there was never the slightest hint that City were going to salvage their proud record.

The Clarets from Essex came into the game in an upbeat mood after overturning a two-goal deficit in their previous game to win 4-2. The prospect of the reverse happening at the Park was seldom entertained.

City gave a debut to the right-sided Rick Shakes but, with their passing well below standard, the former Boreham Wood player was given scant opportunities to show his worth to the side.

Another new signing, Jordan Kinoshi, also made his debut late in the second half. Signed on dual registration from Welwyn Garden City, the 24-year-old showed a welcome willingness to run at the Chelmsford defence but an over-reliance on just his right foot, and problems with staying upright, limited his impact significantly.

City went into the game without the injured Tom Bender, and absent Zane Banton and Solomon Nwabuokei.

Of the two halves, the first was the poorest with goalmouth opportunities a rarity. In fact, it was with some relief when the Clarets, on 33 minutes, opened the scoring with a goal that will embarrass City for various reasons.

An ambitious pass by Shakes was intercepted by Cole Kpekawa to start what was probably the best move of the entire afternoon. The former England Under-20 international fed Dylan Asonganyi who slipped the ball inside to Chez Isaac. His fine diagonal pass out to the Clarets left found Adam Morgan in far too much space. Morgan’s first-time low cross was collected deep inside the penalty area by Danny Imray who skipped wide of Luke Warner-Eley and chipped an excellent cross to the back post. As the ball dropped, the unmarked Charlie Sheringham had time to bring it down on his instep before firing past City keeper Michael Johnson.

Three minutes from the break and City’s fortunes dipped further as Chelmsford doubled their advantage.

Isaac, from ten yards inside his on half, lifted the ball over the City defence. As Asonganyi gave chase, Johnson dashed from his penalty area to head clear. Unfortunately, he planted the ball straight at the feet of Morgan whose first time right-footed dipping shot, from 35 yards, landed on the goalline and bounced into the York Road net. It was a quite exquisite finish.

Five minutes into the second half and St Albans looked to have been thrown a lifeline courtesy of a ludicrous decision.

Stanley played the ball inside to Shakes on the City right and charged into the penalty area to collect the return. Clarets skipper Tom Wraight was between Stanley and the ball but the City man threw himself to the ground and convinced the linesman that a foul had been committed.

Referee Jack Packman was not so easily persuaded and, after a lengthy discussion with his assistant, awarded Chelmsford a free-kick and booked the City player.

The remaining 40 minutes saw the Saints complete a second successive game without mustering an on-target shot while the visitors threatened to increase their tally midway through the half with a spell of sustained pressure.

Attacking the Hatfield Road end of the ground that was fast turning white in the freezing temperature, the Clarets went close from a fine counter-attack.

Sheringham sent the free Morgan away, he in turn fed Isaac and it was only a deflection wide via the left-leg of the diving Johnson that denied the visitors.

Morgan curled the set piece in towards the near post where Sheringham headed wide and then held his head in disappointment. Three minutes later Asonganyi fired wide from outside the box.

City’s best chance to get back into the game came and went in the 75 minute. Stanley sent Dave Diedhiou down the right, from his deep cross Warner-Eley’s header was blocked and his follow up was slashed high and wide.

St Albans City: M.Johnson, D.Stanley, K.Wiltshire, J.Kaloczi, S.Jeffers, R.Shakes, D.Diedhiou, M.Weiss (R.Akinola 76), M.Sundire (D.Noble 70), J.Mukena, L.Warner-Eley (J.Kinoshi 76). Subs not used: M.Clark, J.Chidyausiku.

Chelmsford City: L.Worgan, D.Imray, A.Oluwo, E.Ward, C.Kpekawa, T.Wraight, C.Isaac, C.Harrison, A.Morgan, C.Sheringham, D.Asonganyi (A.Liddle 82). Subs not used: E.Payne, R.Gregory, G.Norton, R.Simpson.