Chelmsford bowed out of the FA Cup with a narrow defeat to Barnet in front of a sold-out Melbourne Stadium.
The decisive goal came in the 73rd minute when attacker Idris Kanu scrambled in from close range from a Ryan De Havilland cross to put the visitors ahead.
The early chances fell to Barnet, with Kian Flanagan having a shot blocked by a Chelmsford defender, before Bees captain Dale Gorman saw his effort head wide of the post.
On the 20-minute mark however the Clarets sprung into life. First came Chelmsford’s first corner of the game, from which they tested Barnet goalkeeper and ex City player Laurie Walker. Then minutes later Harry Lodovica was sent through on goal only to see the linesman’s offside flag, before getting a chance away. City fullback Cameron James also saw his long-range effort stopped by the in-form Walker.
Barnet then had the pendulum swing back in their direction from the 30th minute, with Dale Gorman, Kian Flanagan and Nicke Kabamba all testing young City stopper Ovie Ejeheri.
Ex-Norwich striker Simeon Jackson almost sent City in for half time ahead on the 44th minute, with his bullet header flying just inches over the crossbar, in what was the best chance of the game thus far.
Half time CCFC 0-0 BFC
Despite testing the Chelmsford keeper on multiple occasions during the first half, Barnet made the first change of the game by substituting Kian Flanagan for Sam Woods just before the start of the second half.
Barnet began the second half on the front foot, with a long range drilled for Ryan De Havilland fizzing just wide of the Chelmsford post 5 minutes after the restart.
Much like the first half, the second was providing for a nail biting, end to end game. This was further displayed on the 61st minute when City had another golden opportunity, this time through Tom Blackwell, who saw his effort from close range blocked by a Barnet defender, with a goal kick given.
Then, a moment of madness ensued when Barnet substitute Sam Woods was shown red for a reckless challenge on Louis Dunne, who was substituted five minutes later because of the niggling tackle. The resulting chaos saw square-ups between the Chelmsford and Barnet players, with both captains receiving yellow cards for their roles.
This seemed to give Barnet the motivation they needed however, as directly after both Kabamba and Ben Wynter forced Arsenal loanee Ejeheri into two superb saves to keep the score level.
Then came the goal, which Barnet had threatened throughout the second half, as Idris Kanu scored on the 73rd minute to put the Bees firmly in control of the tie. Good footwork from De Havilland to beat the defender saw him put a dangerous ball into the area, which the Sierra Leone international pounced on for his fifth goal of the season in all competitions.
Chasing the game, Chelmsford dominated the last ten minutes in search of an equaliser. The best chance for the clarets fell in the 82nd minute, with a low cross reaching Blackwell, who failed to steer his effort in from only a yard out.
City were desperate to take the tie to extra time, with two other chances falling late on. First with centre back Liam Trotter’s powerful header falling inches wide of the near post in the 88th minute before substitute Henry Ochieng dragged an effort wide minutes later. But it wasn’t to be for City, who exit the cup at the first-round stage.
Barnet’s win sets up a trip to Sky Bet League One side Accrington Stanley in the second round. As for Chelmsford, attention now turns to the visit of Redditch United in the FA Trophy.
Full Time: CCFC 0-1 BFC
Report by Henry Miller