CHELMSFORD CITY 1 WORTHING 2
Chelmsford City were knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup with a 1-2 home defeat at the hands of lower league Worthing.
Writes Dan Deakins...
Clarets manager Rod Stringer was incredibly frustrated with some of his players after his team lost 2-1 at home to Isthmian Premier League side Worthing in the Emirates FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round.
Stringer's annoyance stemmed from his side allowing Worthing striker, James Crane, to score two identical headers from corners. Chris Whelpdale's 25-yard stunner just after the half time break separated Worthing's goals, but despite heavy pressure and a plethora of corners, couldn't take the tie to a replay.
"We've allowed them to get two free headers in the box, which isn't normally what we're like", said an exasperated Stringer, "and then we've gone up the other end and done everything but score from set pieces. We've had chances but I don't think some of them played very well today, if I'm honest, a lot of them let us down. Some of them I've been really pleased with since they've been at the club, but today one or two of them never really gave us the performance we needed."
Michael Spillane went close to a second Goal of the Season contender in as many games after only four minutes. The midfielder cut in and skilfully jinked his way past three Worthing defenders, before launching an audacious cross-come-shot-come-lob over the goalkeeper. Unfortunately it wasn't bending in enough and it rattled off the far post.
From very early on Worthing were setup for the counter-attack: a tight 4-4-2 to City's expansive, possession based high pressing 4-3-3. They were content absorbing the Clarets' pressure and breaking with pace through David Ajiboye, Oliver Pearce and Jesse Starkey.
City had been bereft of chances inside Worthing's box for the majority of the first 20 minutes, so Murphy came deep to force the issue. From 20-yards he cut in and his effort smashed off the net support.
Just a minute later, Crane scored from James Starkey's corner. It visibly deflated Chelmsford, who'd had a vast amount of the possession.
Chelmsford came mighty close to the equaliser 10 minutes later. Joe Anderson picked out Tom Wraight down the middle but the winger fired a shot wide as he was heavily tackled. Claims for a penalty were swiftly shot down.
Stringer was forced to bring on Whelpdale as Jonathan Giles went off with a knee injury in the 38th minute after attempting to keep the ball in play on the byline.
Whelpdale scored an excellent equaliser in the 52nd minute. Marked by a defender he kept making his way in-field until he was in the centre of the pitch and hit a pin-point accurate shot into the bottom corner from 25-yards.
City were making life incredibly hard for themselves as the game approached the last 20 minutes. A plethora of misplaced paces and error strewn play was leading to an almighty battle to get the winner against a very resilient Worthing side.
Spillane's stabbed shot nearly made the difference in the 71st minute. The ball span out to the edge of the box and Spillane cut it with the outside of his boot. It would've gone in bar a defender on the far post to clear it off the line.
Worthing nicked the lead in the 77th minute in a direct replica of the first. From a corner Crane put his header into the top corner for his second of the game.
City really had to press hard with only 10 minutes to go, but Worthing were proving stern in defence. The home crowd's frustration was audible as some players took too long to move the ball, failed to pass correctly, or were dispossessed too easily.
An error in communication very well could of cost Chelmsford the equaliser for 2-2. From a long throw in deep on the right Jordan Chiedozie hit a poor volley wide, with Murphy screaming for it behind him in a much better position.
It was time for route one with just injury time to be added on. It was scrappy, and even though Chelmsford had bodies in the box, the equaliser never came as City exited the Emirates FA Cup at the first hurdle.