Chelmsford dominated the first-half but were unable to make the most of their possession, with the deadlock almost broken when Eastbourne’s Sam Beale crashed a shot against the bar.
The visitors were then denied a stonewall penalty when Jack Bridge was felled in the box by Kane Haysman – the Southend loanee was booked for simulation – and their wounds were reddened a minute later when Nathaniel Pinney converted.
Bagasan Graham – who hit the bar – and Billy Bricknell both went close to netting equalisers but Eastbourne held strong as the Clarets missed a chance to leapfrog the East Sussex club on goal difference.
Subsitute Darren Lok wrapped up the three points when he lobbed Christian Dibble with six minutes remaining.
The defeat leaves the Clarets five points above the relegation zone going into Saturday’s away trip to local rivals Concord Rangers.
The Clarets named an unchanged line-up for the third consecutive match, meaning striker Jason Williams had to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench after returning from a three match suspension.
Eastbourne made the brighter to start to the match as Pinney had two efforts on goal, the first of which was blazed over from inside the box and the second was rather tamely passed into the hands of Christian Dibble, as the Clarets looked to atone for the disappointment sustained in mid-week where a 94th minute equaliser from Hemel sent Kevin Maher’s side home with a solitary point.
Chelmsford’s best chance fell to the feet of top-scorer Bricknell who, after latching on to Graham’s through ball after a quarter of an hour, could only curl an effort into the arms of ‘keeper Lewis Carey as Eastbourne were let off the hook.
That appeared to swing the game in City’s favour as they dominated the early exchanges, keeping hold of possession well but struggling to carve out many chances of note.
Centre-back Mark Haines looked to take it upon himself to give the Clarets something to show for their performance though, his effort from range whistling narrowly over the crossbar.
Bricknell also went close minutes later when he latched on to Reece Prestedge’s set-piece lay-off, but the powerful strike took a heavy deflection to guide it into the grasp of the grateful Carey.
Chelmsford did almost undo all their fine work in the latter stages of the half when Haines gifted possession to Jamie Taylor after checking inside. The striker did well to feed Pinney who opted to pass to Haysman, one of their better performers of the afternoon, but the midfielder’s shot cannoned off the Clarets’ defence.
They came closer in first-half stoppage time when winger Beale picked up McAuley’s headed clearance, and his effort cracked the bar with Christian Dibble stranded and beaten.
While the first-half was fairly limited in goalmouth action the second-half was anything but, and the Clarets were left seething five minutes after the break when Bridge dribbled his way into the area before being tripped by Haysman, only to be brandished a yellow card for diving. City denied a clear-cut penalty.
It appeared to be a turning point in the match as less than a minute later Ryan Worrall threaded a pass through to Pinney who made no mistake in tucking the ball low past Dibble to open the scoring.
Graham went close to an instant reply minutes later, crashing a shot against the bar from inside the box, as the Clarets were left wondering how they’d failed to turn possession into a deserved lead.
And in response to the goal Maher threw on Williams in place of full-back Marvel Ekpiteta, and it almost paid off when he instantly got on the ball, feeding Graham whose cross lacked accuracy as another chance went begging.
A controlled, somewhat comfortable match for Chelmsford soon transformed into a frustrating afternoon, although Bricknell went close to levelling when he was fed the ball by Bridge, only to be denied by a fingertip stop from Carey.
Jamie Taylor thought he had put the game beyond the reach of the Clarets when he slotted home, but the offside flag had been up for some time to prevent the former Sutton United front man from doubling their advantage.
With less than ten minutes remaining the Clarets committed men forward in an attempt to force home a leveller – Semedo went close with a venomous effort from range – but in doing so the visitors left themselves vulnerable at the back, and Darren Lok was there to punish as he lobbed the onrushing Dibble following a long ball over the top.
The Clarets will be left scratching their heads as for the second time in two games they have failed to be justly rewarded for their impressive performances, and they will have to pick themselves up heading into next Saturday’s derby at Concord.
1. Lewis Carey
2. Jake Sheppard
3. Sam Beale
4. Craig Stone
5. Ian Simpemba (C)
6. Callum Buckley
7. Ryan Worrall
8. Kiran Kinder-John
9. Nathaniel Pinney
10. Jamie Taylor
11. Kane Haysman
12. Bouwe Bosma (On for Craig Stone, 88’)
14. Matt Worthington
15. Gavin McCallum (On for Kiran Kinder-John, 62’)
17. Darren Lok (On for Nathaniel Pinney, 78’)
1. Christian Dibble
2. Rob Girdlestone
3. Marvel Ekpiteta
4. Reece Prestedge
5. Mark Haines
6. Rory McAuley (C)
7. Harry Morgan
8. Jack Bridge
9. Billy Bricknell
10. Sandro Semedo
11. Bagasan Graham
12. Luke Daley (On for Rob Girdlestone, 88')
14. Marvin Ekpiteta
15. Timothy Monsheju
16. Jason Williams (On for Marvel Ekpiteta, 62’)
18. Lee Sawyer
Referee: Mr. Carl Brook
Assistant Referees: Mr. Conor Farrell and Mr. Damith Bandara
Bookings: Eastbourne Borough: Craig Stone (87’, foul)
Chelmsford City: Jack Bridge (50’, simulation), Harry Morgan (80’, foul)
Scorers: Eastbourne Borough: Nathaniel Pinney (51’), Darren Lok (84’)
Chelmsford City: None
HT Score: 0-0
FT Score: 2-0
City Man of the Match: Jack Bridge