Holmes is staying with Chelmsford

PUBLISHED: 10:48 04 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:20 04 March 2010

RICKY Holmes has ended mounting speculation surrounding his future by completing his registration with Chel,sford City for the forthcoming season.

The wide player - the only surviving member of the squad which came home to Chelmsford in January 2005 - was called up to the England C squad last year and has previously received the Young Player of the Year Award at City.

RICKY Holmes has ended mounting speculation surrounding his future by completing his registration with Chel,sford City for the forthcoming season.

The wide player - the only surviving member of the squad which came home to Chelmsford in January 2005 - was called up to the England C squad last year and has previously received the Young Player of the Year Award at City.

The announcement comes after the Clarets rounded off their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 win at Witham Town.

The low-key victory over their near neighbours from the Essex Senior League came thanks to a late Jon Keeling tap-in, but head coach Glenn Pennyfather was keen to highlight the effort his squad had offered and revealed all except two will be ready for Saturday's Blue Square South opener against Bath.

He said: “It was good to give a game tonight to some of the lads who hadn't played so much and to provide some of them with 90 minutes. We battled hard against a Witham side who were much-improved from last season and Danny Greaves has got them playing a lot better on a pitch that isn't necessarily conducive to fast-flowing football.”

Aside from previous triallists who had another chance to impress, namely defensive midfielder Ryan Carolan and striker John Frendo, Pennyfather also threw forward Daniel Charge into the mix to see what he could do.

The youngster was with Dagenham & Redbridge in the Coca-Cola Football League Two last season but opted to depart the Daggers to seek more regular football.

Frendo was involved from the start as he witnessed some tidy play on the left before receiving the ball on his way into the box and striking across goalkeeper Dean Grace only to see his effort saved. However, he squandered a golden chance to register his first City goal on the quarter-hour mark when Ben Martin received a shove in the back as he attempted a header at goal but Frendo could only stroke meekly down the centre of the goal from the resulting penalty, enabling Grace to dive on top of the ball.

Witham, however, weren't without chances of their own and experienced defender Alan Sampson pounced on a loose ball in the area to cause City keeper Craig Holloway mild concern. Then leggy forward Rob Edmans thought he'd breached the defensive line to hammer home on 28 minutes only to look-up during his celebration and see the assistant referee's flag pointing in his direction for offside.

Chelmsford had effectively dominated possession throughout, with Carolan and the youthful Nav Arain battling well in the heart of the midfield, and there were further opportunities crafted for Frendo after the break as he powered a header wide from a Keeling free-kick and also struck just wide after turning on the edge of the box.

In addition, on 66 minutes, Carolan nearly broke the deadlock courtesy of a long-range rasper which careered straight onto the face of the near post and back out.

Town's resolve was eventually to be breached in the 76th minute as Okay's inventiveness proved too much for them. He was slipped in on the right wing before taking-on his marker on the outside and whipping a tempting delivery across the face of goal which resulted in Keeling steering high into the net from close range. The diminutive winger could have added a personal and team second later on, but the Clarets settled for one.

“We had to roll our sleeves up tonight, which is something we're going to have to do this season, and to keep a clean sheet was so important,” Pennyfather summarised.

“I'm pretty sure in my mind as to the team I want to start the season but there will be a few sleepless nights before then as every player has given me everything in pre-season and put themselves in the frame! Except for Ollie Berquez and Dave Rainford, everyone will be fit for Saturday and I know the players can't wait.”

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