Report - Chelmsford City 2-1 Oxford City
By Oxford City FC
Claret Comes out on Top
Oxford City were unable to dent Chelmsford City’s play-off charge as they were beaten 2-1 by a dominant Claret display on Saturday afternoon at the Melbourne Stadium.
In truth, Kyran Wiltshire’s 94th minute consolation goal flattered the Hoops against a Chelmsford side who should have had more than just strikes from Rhys Murphy and Michael Spillane to show.
Off the back of two consecutive victories, Mark Jones had the luxury of naming the same team that started both of those, in fact the only change in the squad was the absence of Albie Hopkins, who had returned to parent club Oxford United.
Craig King started in goal, protected by a defence that saw captain Joe Oastler and Tarik Moore-Azille at centre-back, while Eddie Jones and Ryan Case operated at full-back. Further forward, Reece Fleet, Josh Ashby and Jack Self occupied central midfield while Kyran Wiltshire and Brandon Thomas-Asante were the attacking midfielders who complimented Kabongo Tshimanga.
The hosts started brightly, with their first proper sight of goal coming in the fifth minute. A free-kick was conceded just outside the City box that Billy Knott stepped up and struck left-footed. The effort was good, however it was straight at King.
This set the tone of the first-half, with the Hoops having to primarily defend in their own box. A few minutes later, King came off the worst in a collision with Rhys Murphy attacking a free-kick, however he was able to continue after treatment.
The deadlock should have been broken on a quarter-of-an-hour. Knott managed to dispossess King with a strong challenge, and immediately got a ball across to Murphy, who could only strike the crossbar when shooting at the open goal. The rebound fell to Tommy Wraight on the edge of the box whose first time shot cleared the crossbar.
What followed was perhaps the Hoops’ best spell of the match. A few balls over the top saw Tshimanga cause a number of problems for the Clarets’ defence, however each time he looked to wriggle clear, Spillane and Cascaval were in place to thwart the Hoops’ top scorer.
Lee Brennan’s half-time whistle would have been a welcome sound for Mark Jones as his side had somehow got into the break level and would know that the longer his side kept it goalless, the chance of nicking a winner would increase.
But any thoughts of that happening were extinguished within two minutes of the restart. A ball to Murphy saw the forward hold off his defender in a wide position. With nothing looking on, he went for goal alone and smashed it over King and into the roof of the net.
The second came 15 minutes after. This time it came from Spillane who volleyed on his left foot on the edge of the box, his effort flying through a sea of bodies, leaving King helpless as it sailed into the bottom corner.
Mark Jones made two changes in response to this as Ryan Case and Jack Self were replaced by Bobson Bawling and Owen James.
However, it was always the hosts who looked most likely to add to their tally in the last 10 minutes, Chez Isaac, Wraight and Lamar Reynolds all forcing saves out of City’s stopper.
However, having conceded stoppage time goals in two of their last three matches, this time things were different. An Eddie Jones free-kick was cleared into his own man by Murphy, with the rebound rather fortuitously falling to Wiltshire through on goal, the midfielder making no mistake.
However, the linesman’s flag temporarily called a halt to the celebrations, but after consultations between himself and referee Brennan, the goal was then awarded.
The hopes of an unlikely comeback were certainly short lived, with the final whistle going as soon as the match was restarted.
It’s a short return to cup action next up for the Hoops, as they face up to North Leigh in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup Semi-Final on Wednesday evening, in the neutral location of Banbury United’s Spencer Stadium, 19:30 kick-off.
Oxford City: King, Jones, Case (James 64), Ashby, Moore-Azille, Oastler, Wiltshire, Fleet, Tshimanga, Thomas-Asante, Self (Bawling 64).
Unused: Caro, O’Donoghue