Lee Angol fired the Wood ahead with a perfectly placed free-kick after 15-minutes, but Harry Hickford’s diving header soon cancelled that out as the sides drew level.
Marvin Ekpiteta then couldn’t direct his header on target shortly after and the Clarets were soon pegged back again.
Graeme Montgomery’s free-kick was glanced in by skipper Callum Reynolds before Junior Morias furthered the Wood’s lead shortly after half-time.
Rohdell Gordon pulled one back for the Clarets with just less than 20-minutes remaining but Leon Redwood went one step further and struck one of the sweetest strikes of the season as it nestled into the top corner.
That wasn’t quite enough however as Graeme Montgomery struck with eight minutes remaining to give the visitor’s all three points in a thrilling end-of-season finale.
The Clarets came up against a team in Boreham Wood who had second-place in their sights if they were to avoid defeat. The Wood would arguably be excused if they felt a little subdued going into the final match of a tough campaign having led the Conference South for the majority of the season. They knew, however, that a positive result would secure their runners-up position and give them a crucial second-leg home advantage in the play-off semi-finals with a potential home final should they proceed.
Ian Allinson’s men were eventually trumped by Bromley who stole the title last weekend with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Weston-super-Mare, condemning the Wood to the lottery of the play-offs.
They began the match lively – thanks to two clumsy fouls by Marvin Ekpiteta – with Lee Angol firing straight at Tom Lovelock in the City goal before Graeme Montgomery’s delivery soon after didn’t threaten.
But City more than matched Boreham Wood for possession and, even though Mark Hawkes’ side were forced to finish mid-table when the play-offs looked to be in reach up until February, it’s a testament to the way in which the side has developed.
The introduction of Academy players Joe Ward – who impressed in West Ham’s Development Squad’s win over Manchester City the night before – Harry Morgan, Hugo Skeplehorn, Sam Gregory, Harry Morgan and Jake Gordon has been a particular highlight.
The goal contributions from top-scorer Michael Cheek – who netted 23 goals for the campaign – and the flair of Lee Sawyer has really aided the youthful City side.
Inconsistencies did cost the side a play-off place in the end, although the 2015-16 campaign certainly looks to hold a large degree of promise and excitement with the fresh talent at Hawkes’ disposal.
Lovelock was soon called upon again within moments when a long ball over the top was misjudged by Ekpiteta. The dithering from the City defender presented Angol with a one-on-one with his drilled strike saved by the legs of the outstretched ‘keeper.
The Clarets’ ‘keeper could do little to prevent Wood’s opener however as Angol, who is on-loan from Sky Bet League 2 side Luton Town, tried his luck from another set-piece. The pacy striker nestled a free-kick from just outside the box into the top corner to give Lovelock no hope of keeping out his 25th goal of the season.
That lead lasted just seven minutes however as the Wood were punished after a lapse in concentration led to a cheap corner. Rohdell Gordon swung in the set-piece and it was met by the diving head of Harry Hickford who glanced the effort into the opposite corner.
Ekpiteta then almost nodded the Clarets in front moments after the restart after latching onto Michael Toner’s free-kick delivery, but was unable to position himself correctly and it looped over the bar.
Chelmsford looked inspired and threatened with some decisive runs by the likes of Skepelhorn and Gordon, but the Wood regained their lead just after the half hour mark.
Graeme Montgomery’s in-swinging free-kick from the right was glanced home by skipper Callum Reynolds, who managed to get the slightest of chances to divert home.
The visitor’s had a soft penalty appeal turned down when City full-back Rob Girdlestone out muscled Junior Morias who went down in a heap. Referee Mr Carl Fitch waved play on, much to the disgust of the tricky forward.
Morias was soon rewarded for his endeavour through when he doubled the Wood’s advantage shortly after the break. He slotted the ball coolly under the body of Lovelock after latching onto a well-weighted through ball to separate the two sides further.
The score-line was perhaps a little harsh on City although they were ultimately punished for the lack of attacking threat as, on the whole, James Russell went largely unopposed.
Russell was almost left red-faced however when Cheek rounded him following a timely pass from Skepelhorn. Thankfully for the former Chelsea Apprentice the effort was tame and Ben Herd mopped up on the line.
Morias was then denied a second when Lovelock tipped his thunderous volley over the bar in what proved to be a terrific reaction save to keep City in the match.
That save proved crucial still when Rohdell Gordon gave the Clarets a life-line, tapping home from close range after his initial shot was repelled.
The drama didn’t stop there however as substitute Leon Redwood picked the ball up from 30-odd yards before driving forward and striking into the top corner to draw the Clarets level.
City did superbly to draw level but were dealt a late sucker-punch when Graeme Montgomery waited patiently at the back post to slam home as the Wood regained the lead to make it 3-4.
That was to prove the decisive goal as the Clarets, despite all their efforts, couldn’t quite go again and forge another equaliser. They certainly gave their all and look ready to build on the experiences of what has been a demanding season.
1. Tom Lovelock
2. Rob Girdlestone
3. Michael Toner
4. Mark Hughes (C)
5. Harry Hickford
6. Marvin Ekpiteta
7. Mason Spence
8. Harry Morgan
9. Rohdell Gordon
10. Michael Cheek
11. Hugo Skepelhorn
12. Evans Kouassi (On for Hugo Skepelhorn, 63)
14. Sam Gregory (On for Rob Girdlestone, 84)
15. Leon Redwood (On for Mason Spence, 66)
16. Kevin Maher
17. Joe Ward
1. James Russell
2. Ben Nunn
3. Ben Herd
4. Sam Cox
5. Josh Hill
6. Callum Reynolds (C)
7. Scott Thomas
8. Ricky Shakes
9. Lee Angol
10. Junior Morias
11. Graeme Montgomery
12. Charlie Walker (On for Junior Morias, 86)
14. Matthew Whichelow (On for Lee Angol, 77)
15. Luke Garrard
16. Ben Martin
17. James Courtnage
Referee: Mr Carl Fitch (Ipswich)
Assistant Referees: Mr Darren Stobbart and Mr James Whittaker Junior
Bookings: Chelmsford City: Harry Morgan (45+1, foul), Michael Cheek (90, foul)
Boreham Wood: Ben Herd (42, foul)
Scorers: Chelmsford City: Harry Hickford (22), Rohdell Gordon (71), Leon Redwood (75)
Boreham Wood: Lee Angol (15), Callum Reynolds (32), Junior Morias (47), Graeme Montgomery (81)
HT Score: 1-2
City Man of the Match: Harry Hickford