Report - Oxford City 1-3 Chelmsford City
City fail to follow up their FA Cup exploits
Oxford City came crashing back down to Earth with a bump as they followed their emphatic 5-0 win over Hemel Hempstead with a deserved 3-1 defeat to Chelmsford City.
The exertions of the previous week seemed to take their toll on the Hoops who started the game strongly, taking the lead through Kabby Tshimanga, but quickly ceded control to a Chelmsford side who appeared strong and organised in all areas of the pitch.
Mark Jones chose to name an unchanged starting lineup, recently re-signed loanee Frankie Musonda making do with a place on the bench. The back five comprised of goalkeeper Craig King; full backs Kyran Wilshere and Ben Jefford; and centre halves Udoka Godwin-Malife and Joe Oaster – the latter leading the side as captain. Reece Fleet and Josh Ashby sat deep in midfield, behind Rob Sinclair, whilst Eddie Jones and Zac McEachran lined up as wingers. Finally, the side was capped off by lone striker Kabby Tshimanga.
The Hoops got off to the brighter start, McEachran finding his range in the 3rd minute with an effort from range which flashed over the bar.
It took 17 minutes for the breakthrough to come, albeit under slightly fortuitous circumstances. Tshimanga did well to latch onto a ball down the left channel and, although his shot was lacking in both placement and power, Clarets 'keeper Nathan McDonald somehow conspired to spill it into his own net.
The goal spelled the end of what had up until that point been typically calm and composed attacking play from the hosts.
Chelmsford began applying increasing amounts of pressure and were rewarded with the breakthrough in the 30th minute. A City free kick in their own half somehow turned into an attack for the Clarets, Rhys Murphy racing extremely clear of the defence and finishing neatly into the bottom corner to level the scores.
The goal did nothing to reinvigorate the Hoops as they produced few chances of note in the final 15 minutes of the half, Jones' effort from range passing narrowly wide making for a rare highlight on the stroke of half time.
With the rain increasing in intensity and the skies over Marsh Lane becoming increasingly grey, the home side's second half performance did little to brighten the mood as Chelmsford continued to dominate.
It could have been 2-1 to the visitors in the 58th minute, Murphy failing to double his personal tally when dragging a shot horribly wide from a promising position, however this was soon forgotten as his side took the lead a matter of minutes later. As with City's opener, it was far from beautiful as sustained pressure in the box lead to a number of efforts being blocked before Scott Fenwick eventually drove the ball home.
Fenwick also missed a golden chance to add a second goal of his own, heading wide when unmarked from 6 yards after a powerful cross from the right took a small deflection on its way through to him.
A change of personnel looked as though it may bring the Hoops back into the game: Craig Fassanmade injecting some pace into attack and Frankie Musonda looking to shore things up at the back, the pair replacing Eddie Jones and Kyran Wilshere respectively. Fasanmade proved a little too hot for the Clarets' defence to handle, winning a free kick on the left side of the box from which Ashby forced a good save out of McDonald.
The equaliser, however, never came and it was instead Chelmsford who found the back of the net to all but secure the three points. A wayward backpass sold King short and allowed Murphy to steal in and slot into a largely unguarded net, finally landing him the brace he had missed out on earlier.
The Hoops almost set up a nervy period of stoppage time when Tshimanga found himself with the ball at his feet deep inside the Chelmsford area, however McDonald was quick in getting out to narrow the angle and make what was eventually a comfortable save.
Oxford City: King, Wiltshire (Musonda 60), Jefford, Ashby (Bawling 83), Godwin-Malife, Oastler (c), McEachran, Fleet, Tshimanga, Sinclair, Jones (Fasanmade 60).
Unused: Carter, Otudeko.