Full time: Oxford City 0-1 Chelmsford City

Callum Watts’ first Chelmsford City goal earned his side a deserved away win against National League side Oxford City, securing the Clarets’ place in the last 32 of the Isuzu FA Trophy.

Robbie Simpson’s men started the game the strongest out of the two, and following some neat passing play in the 19th minute between Ben Brookes and Charlie Ruff, Watts offered a sign of things to come with his first attempt towards goal of the afternoon via a long-range shot.

The Clarets continued probing, and Freddie Hockey was the first City player to force Oxford goalkeeper Jack Bycroft into a save, with an effort from a tight angle being saved in the 23rd minute after Hockey was played in-behind the Hoops defence by Ruff.

Luke Jenkins also forced Bycroft into action late in the first half, when the centre back headed Watts’ floated cross from a deep position on target.

Hockey continued to cause the hosts problems in the second half, and the forward won an early free kick for his side in a dangerous position, after drawing a foul from Mitchell Roberts. Ruff rolled the set-piece into the path of Ben Brookes, and the full back’s effort was tipped around the post by Bycroft.

Brookes was involved again in the 57th minute, delivering a dangerous corner which was punched behind by Bycroft for another corner on the opposite side. This time delivered by Castiglione, the corner fell to Luke Jenkins at the back post, who recycled possession by finding Callum Watts on the edge of the Oxford penalty area. The midfielder kept his cool and unleashed a powerful left-footed shot into the top corner of the Hoops’ goal, leaving Bycroft rooted to his goal-line.

Ross Jenkins’ side experienced a slight resurgence after falling behind, with two chances falling to their top scorer Josh Parker. Parker’s effort from a tight angle in the 62nd fizzed across the face of the Clarets goal, but the best opportunity of the match for the forward fell to him in the 75th minute. Following a mix-up in the Chelmsford backline, Parker found himself bearing down on goal with only Jacob Marsden to beat. The City goalkeeper came off his line and made himself big enough to block Parker’s effort with an impressive save, denying Oxford a leveller.

Chelmsford substitute Callum Jones thought he’d scored a second goal for his side late in the 84th minute, but the forward was judged to have been offside after tapping in Ruff’s saved effort past Bycroft.

The Clarets defended well for the remainder of the afternoon to see their win out, with around eight minutes of added time being played, four more than what was originally indicated.

Robbie Simpson and his players will discover what tie they’ll be rewarded with for progressing to the fourth round, when the draw takes place live on Talksport2 from 3.15pm, on Monday 11th December.

Oxford City XI: Bycroft (GK), Miccio (Williams-Bushell 46), Coyle, Fleet ©, Sanderson (Potter 61), McEachran, Roberts, Parker, Carroll, Humphrey-Ewers (Kirby 70), Moore.

Unused substitutes: McQueen, Brzozowski, Smith, Fonkeu.

Yellow cards: Fleet, Roberts

Chelmsford City XI: Marsden (GK), Barnum-Bobb ©, Jenkins, Barbrook, Brookes; Ochieng (Wordsworth 90+2), Watts, Ruff (Carruthers 87); Francis, Castiglione, Hockey (Jones 82).

Unused substitutes: Gray (GK), Ody, Nicolaou, Coker.

Yellow cards: Robbie Simpson

Attendance: 446 (92 away)

Report by Jake Dixon

Cover image by Roger Robinson Photography

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