Writes Matt Lee
The Clarets have now completed the double over their League opponents, following up a 0-6 rout at Bulpit Lane in August with Saturday’s somewhat flattering victory.
Chris Whelpdale opened the scoring with a close-range finish before rifling home a contender for Goal of the Season with a ferocious volley.
Rhys Kavanagh pulled a goal back for the visitors early in the second half and the Crusaders had chances to draw level. However, two goals in the final five minutes extended City’s lead as Rhys Murphy and an own-goal ensured the three points remained in Essex.
City boss Rod Stringer made just one change from the side that beat Dulwich Hamlet last weekend; Elliot Omozusi returned to the right side of defence as Jazzi Barnum-Bobb retired to the substitute’s bench.
Mikhail Kennedy, who returned to parent club Charlton Athletic following the conclusion of his loan spell, was replaced by Jordan Chiedozie as the 24-year-old was recalled to action following a spell on the sidelines.
The hosts started brightly and were handed several chances to take an early lead. Joe Anderson cut inside from left-back and fizzed a cross towards the near post; however, Whelpdale was unable to keep his snapshot on target and poked wide. Anderson almost provided again when his corner entered the six-yard box but neither Scott Fenwick nor Murphy could get a conclusive touch.
Hungerford should have taken the lead when Adrian Cascaval’s misplaced pass was collected by Alfy Whittingham. The midfielder slid a pass forward which Cameron Hargreaves latched on to, but the Crusader wasted the chance but shooting wide from close range.
Six minutes later City took the lead. A deep cross picked out Whelpdale at the far post who, after his initial shot was saved, turned the ball past Luyambula from a yard-out.
The visitors came close to levelling the scores when Darren Foxley’s strike shook the crossbar; Rhys Kavanagh should have headed the rebounded effort past McDonald from close range, but the striker headed against the bar and City’s shot-stopper gathered the ball.
Having had a great chance to draw level, the visitors were soon two goals behind through a Goal of the Season contender from Whelpdale. The winger latched onto a diagonal pass and scored his fourth goal in two games with a fierce volley into the top corner.
City could have been further ahead on 35 minutes when Rhys Murphy sent a deft lob over Luyambula and across the line; but the flag was raised for offside and the goal was ruled out.
Stringer was forced into an early change on 39 minutes as Joe Anderson felt a heavy challenge on the touchline. Tom Wraight replaced the defender at left-back as Jonny Giles was introduced off the substitutes’ bench shortly before the interval.
Murphy had a great opportunity to slide Scott Fenwick into space on the left channel early in the second half; however, the striker delayed his pass and eventually lost possession.
The visitors eventually beat McDonald as Kavanagh stepped inside under pressure from Omozusi and Spillane before curling a shot into the top corner.
Hungerford could have had a second goal when a well-rehearsed freekick routine provided Foxley with space inside the area, but the winger dragged his shot wide from a good position on the hour-mark.
City made their second change on 68 minutes as Stringer replaced Fenwick with the quick Aaron Cosgrave before Max Porter replaced Chris Whelpdale ten minutes later.
The Clarets could have put the result beyond doubt when Porter’s pass was helped towards Giles by Murphy, but the young winger shot wide.
But the hosts were not hard done by as they extended their lead with five minutes left. Giles worked himself into space inside the box and passed inside to Murphy who pulled the trigger on a well-placed shot beyond Luyambula.
City added a fourth late on in fortuitous circumstances as they claimed their eighth League victory in ten games when a deep cross struck the far post and bounced across the line with the assistance of a deflection.