Report - Oxford City 4-0 Chelmsford City
No FA Cup Hangover for the Hoops
By Ryan Bratley
Oxford City bounced back from the disappointment of their FA Cup exit by progressing in another knockout competition – booking their place in the First Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy with a crushing 4-0 victory over Chelmsford City.
Kabby Tshimanga came close to his third hattrick of the season but eventually had to make do with a brace – opening the scoring with a 13th minute penalty before doubling the Hoops' lead early in the second half. Sam Nombe, meanwhile, found the net for the first time in his second spell with the club before Zac McEachran rounded off the scoring five minutes from time with a deflected effort from range.
Mark Jones made one change to the side which was bested by Tranmere Rovers, Frankie Musonda's recall to parent club Luton town requiring a re-shuffle in defence which saw Udoka Gowin-Malife return to the centre to partner Joe Oastler, whilst Eddie Jones came in on the right. Craig King and Ben Jefford retained their places in goal and defence respectively, whilst Jack Self's unavailability meant that Reece Fleet and Josh Ashby took to the centre of midfield. Zac McEachran took to his usual attacking role in the centre, flanked by Kyran Wiltshire and Sam Nombe on the wings, with Kabby Tshimanga operating as lone striker.
The Hoops got off to a quick start, Nombe earning his side a corner within a minute of kick-off before just failing to find Tshimanga with a through ball having taken on multiple players.
The visitors, meanwhile, were able to carve out two early chances as Jonny Giles shot comfortably over the bar before Jefford cleared a header off of the line following a corner.
City were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 13th minute. Nombe's pace allowed him to breeze past one defender before his route to the byline was abruptly cut off by a needless shove from Chez Isaac, leaving the referee with little choice but to point to the spot. Despite cries from the crowd for Nombe to take the spot-kick himself, Tshimanga stepped up and made no mistakes as he sent the 'keeper the wrong way.
Almost directly from the restart, Fleet found himself in a shooting position on the edge of the area. His shot had the power to beat the 'keeper, but not quite the placement as it passed narrowly wide of the bottom corner.
City continued to cause trouble going forwards with McEachran and Ashby in particular finding themselves stopped more often by fouls than tackles. One such incident handed the Hoops a free kick in a promising position, Oastler the man to step up and deliver a curling effort narrowly wide of the top corner.
Chelmsford's hunt for an equaliser sprang into life in the 25th minute when a ball into the box was calmly headed back across goal to Scott Fenwick, the striker's firm header drawing an excellent reflex save from King.
Just a minute later, Nombe came close to finding the time and space to shoot in the opposing box, eventually winning a corner which somehow evaded everyone on its way across goal.
The Hoops came even closer just after the half hour mark when Jefford's left-footed free kick from the right wing was met by the head of Oastler, forcing a fine clearance on the line. The resulting corner was also met by the City skipper, although this time he could only head harmlessly over the bar.
Ever dangerous, Nombe once again made his presence felt in the 37th minute with a rasping effort from range which was tipped superbly onto the bar by Luke O'Reilly.
The half drew to an end in scrappy fashion as both sides traded fouls, leaving the tie neatly poised as the second period began.
Tshimanga showed signs of becoming a real threat almost immediately. He could, and perhaps should, have doubled the lead in the 50th minute as he blasted an effort narrowly wide, however the young forward made amends just three minutes later.
The goal was made by McEachran, his persistence seeing him win possession on the half way line before playing an inch-perfect ball into his teammate's path. Tshimanga, who has been prone to snatching at his chances when one on one with the goalkeeper, kept his cool to slot a simple finish beyond O'Reilly's reach.
Mark Jones turned to his depleted bench for the first time just after the hour mark. It was an enforced change with Craig Fassanmade replacing Josh Ashby, the midfielder injured following an agricultural challenge from Michael Spillane.
With 20 minutes remaining, the Clarets seemed intent on working their way back into the fixture. However, all their hopes were as good as dashed in the 74th minute as Nombe finally found the goal his recent performances have deserved. The young loanee made the most of Matthew Young's half-hearted defending to take the ball down in the area and plant an effort beyond the 'keeper's reach from an almost perfect shooting angle.
As if being 3-0 down with 15 minutes remaining wasn't enough for the visitors to feel the game was beyond them, they went down to 10 men in the 76th minute when Fenwick picked up his second booking inside the space of five minutes.
Shortly afterwards, Mark Jones made his second change of the game as Kunle Otudeko replaced Ben Jefford. The change required a significant reshuffle of the eleven players on the pitch: utility man Kyran Wiltshire completing his journey from right wing to left fullback, via the centre of midfield.
City made the most of their numerical advantage to go in search of more goals and were finally rewarded when McEachran lined up an effort from the edge of the area which took a not insignificant deflection on its way into the top corner. The midfielder came close to making in 5-0 moments later when he was allowed to drift all the way to the penalty spot without any sign of a challenge, however his eventual shot was blocked at point blank range.
Tshimanga and Otudeko each had chances of their own in the closing stages, both shooting narrowly wide when well placed.
The full time whistle signaled the end to a rare 45 minutes in which the Hoops both created and converted a number of clear goalscoring opportunities. They must now wait until Monday to find out who they will face in the next round, with potential ties against a range of National League South rivals on the cards.