Writes Matt Lee...
Oxford City striker Kabongo Tshimanga came back to haunt his former employers as he scored a brace, while Sam Nombe and Zac McEachran added to a rout over the Clarets.
Things turned worse for City as Scott Fenwick received a yellow card either side of Nombe’s goal, handing the Clarets a suspension to their only fit remaining striker.
The 23-year-old blasted home from the penalty spot after Chez Isaac fouled Sam Nombe in the first half before grabbing another goal in the second half.
Head Coach Nick Haycock, leading the Clarets due to Rod Stringer’s three-match Stadium suspension, was forced to make several changes to the side that lost to Truro City. Rhys Murphy missed out on the tie following his red card last weekend, while Nathan McDonald and Chris Whelpdale suffered injuries.
New signing Luke O’Reilly made a good opening impression on his debut appearance, coming off his line quickly to deal with a loose ball before producing a teasing delivery for Scott Fenwick to chase onto.
The Clarets started brightly as their quick passing troubled the hosts. Anthony Church split the Oxford defence to carve out a chance, but Jonny Giles shot well over from just outside the box.
Chelmsford tested the home defence again as Giles seemed the brightest spark in the visitors’ attacking line, but a defender’s late toe denied the winger a drifting run into the danger zone.
The Clarets again came close as Chez Isaac’s corner troubled Craig King, but shortly after Oxford took the lead.
Directly from the corner the hosts broke, Isaac tracked back to defend the Blues’ attack but tumbled into Nombe, leaving the referee no option but to award a penalty – which Tshimanga blasted past debut ‘keeper Luke O’Reilly.
Six minutes later and the hosts could have doubled their lead, but the Clarets stood and watched as Joe Oastler’s freekick bent wide.
Chelmsford should have drawn level when Fenwick powered a header towards goal from two yards, but it was straight at King, either side of the shot-stopper and City would have been level.
Nombe almost grabbed a second for Oxford when he sent a powerful drive towards goal, but the crossbar was left rattling as the woodwork denied the hosts again.
City tried to get an equaliser late in the first half as King flapped at Matt Young’s cross, pushing it out to Spillane, but the defender’s volleyed shot went well over as Chelmsford entered the break with no reward for their effort.
Strong words from Head Coach Nick Haycock clearly had an impact as Chelmsford came out for the second half looking for an early equaliser, but Spillane’s header from close range was a comfortable catch for King.
Haycock’s first change of the afternoon, after 52 minutes, replaced Max Porter – who had been complaining of an injury – but his replacement, Amos Nasha, immediately had the ball stolen from him by McEachran who then slipped the ball forward to Tshimanga where the striker could stroke it past O’Reilly to score Oxford’s second.
And it turned out to be the start of a catastrophic twenty-five minutes for the Clarets.
Tshimanga almost grabbed his second on 56 minutes as he strode away from Elliot Omozusi only to poke the ball wide of the far post, before Young’s corner was tapped towards goal by skipper Anthony Church.
McEachran burst away down the wing on the counter-attack but had his run cut-short by Fenwick, and the Clarets’ man entered the book for his foul.
But Nombe claimed Oxford’s third on 74 minutes as he out-muscled Young inside the box and turned it past O’Reilly.
And things took a further turn for the worse as frustration flooded in for the Clarets, Fenwick was judged to have committed a second bookable offence and he was sent for an early shower on 76 minutes.
McEachran was the quickest to react to a loose ball with five minutes left and, after a bit of trickery, he carved open some space to fire home his first and Oxford’s fourth of the day as Chelmsford crashed out the FA Trophy with a whimper.