Report - Oxford City 2-0 Chelmsford City
Nombe at the double once again to sink Chelmsford
Oxford City continued their resurgence on Saturday afternoon as they beat Chelmsford City 2-0 at Marsh Lane to record their third consecutive victory, all against sides occupying playoff spots.
Sam Nombe starred once again for the Hoops as he grabbed both goals to take his tally for the club to five goals in just 168 minutes.
While Mark Jones had tried to stick with the same line-up from last week’s superb comeback win at Truro City, he was forced into one change: Rob Sinclair was unable to recover from the dead leg he picked up at Treyew Road, and was replaced by Zac McEachran. He partnered Reece Fleet and captain Godfrey Poku in the centre of midfield. The defence remained the same with Craig King between the sticks; a back three of Joe Oastler, Frankie Musonda, and Udoka Godwin-Malife; with Eddie Jones and Freddie Grant operating as wing backs. Strikers Sam Nombe and Matt Paterson completed the lineup. The City bench was boosted with the returns of David Pearce and Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain who both recovered from injury.
The visitors started strongly and forced the first effort on goal in the fifth minute. A corner was delivered to Phil Roberts whose header went just wide of the mark.
The Clarets were able to force another corner just two minutes later after Godwin-Malife was able to deflect a dangerous effort over the bar. The corner was delivered into where Anthony Church was waiting, his powerful header had Craig King well beaten, however the City stopper was thankful to see Eddie Jones hack the ball off the line.
City broke immediately from this let off and managed to force Craig Braham-Barrett into a mistake. Nombe took full advantage of this as he picked up the loose ball before driving at the Chelmsford goal then confidently smashing the ball under Sam Beasant to give City a seventh minute lead.
The visitors rallied following the set-back and forced a series of corners on 20 minutes. After the first was put behind, the second found the head of Roberts, however his looping header comfortably cleared the bar.
They had another chance to test King’s goal on 33 minutes as they were awarded a free kick just outside the box. Taylor Miles took the set piece, however his effort drifted wide of the near post.
City had a chance to add to their lead late in the first period as Musonda’s spectacular effort from a corner was blocked in front of goal.
The referee soon after brought to an end the first period, a successful one for the Hoops who were able to deal with everything the Clarets could throw at them as well as getting their noses in front through a pacey break.
The visitors responded to the first half deficit by making two half time substitutions, Shaun Batt replaced Taylor Miles while ex-Hoop Scott Davies was introduced for Kudus Oyenuga.
Before the substitutions really had time to take effect, the Hoops were able to double their lead. Davies gave the ball away in midfield before it was delivered to Nombe. The striker then played a one two with Fleet before being released clear through on goal. Beasant was able to get a hand to his shot, however it was not strong enough to keep it from going in.
It should have been three just four minutes later after Paterson was able to find Fleet just inside the box. The midfielder tried to loft the ball over Beasant, however the Chelmsford stopper saved well to keep it at just two.
Chelmsford were able to go right up the other end and another ex-Hoop Jonny Giles’ effort from the edge of the D went narrowly wide of the post.
The visitors were then forced into their final change, Danny Green replaced Elliott Omuzusi.
With the City defence holding firm, the visitors had to deal through shots from distance. The first such of these came from Davies as he controlled a loose ball before hitting it on the volley high and wide of the goal.
Mark Jones then took the opportunity to freshen up his side. Firstly, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Zac McEachran on 67 minutes, two minutes later Ezra Forde replaced double goal scorer Sam Nombe.
Both of the substitutes had opportunities to put the result beyond doubt. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s powerful run 12 minutes from time saw him cut onto his left foot before smashing his shot well over the bar. Forde then had his chance on 83 minutes after he was able to get around Braham-Barrett into the box, his powerfully driven effort hitting the side netting.
City’s management then made their third and final sub, Mamadou Fofana coming on to replace Matt Paterson.
The visitors did have one final chance in added time, Batt was found by a Davies long ball, however his header was unable to trouble King in the City goal.
The referee’s whistle brought to an end a fine performance from City, not only seeing them go 10 points clear of the drop zone but also registering their first clean sheet of 2018, and a first in City colours for Craig King.
They will be looking to continue this form next weekend with a trip away to Wealdstone in the National League South. A victory would see City register four consecutive league wins for the first time in their spell in the National League North or South!
Oxford City: King, Jones, Godwin-Malife, Poku (c), Musonda, Oastler, Nombe (Forde 69), Fleet, Paterson (Fofana 85), McEachran (Oxlade-Chamberlain 67), Grant.