Chelmsford City booked their place in the Emirates FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round with a 5-star second half performance to defeat a stubborn Romford on Saturday 1st October.

After being denied by Romford’s backline for 55 minutes, in which City could have taken the lead on multiple occasions, Khale Da Costa finally broke the deadlock when he tapped in. Just 4 minutes later Ade Oluwo volleyed in for 2 and then Khale Da Costa completed his hat-trick, his second came when he rounded the keeper from Kai Yearn’s pass and his 3rd came when Tom Blackwell was brought down in the area and Da Costa stepped up to stroke the penalty away. To win the penalty, Romford were reduced to 10 men as George Allen was sent off for tugging back Blackwell. City added a 5th when substitute Tom Blackwell fired across goal and into the bottom right corner and City eventually cruised home.

Robbie Simpson made 4 changes from the midweek win over Farnborough. Colchester United loanee Frankie Terry made his debut as he replaced the injured Cameron James at centre-back. Once again both wings were refreshed as Khale Da Costa and Jamie Yila replaced Kai Yearn and Tom Blackwell. Yearn was meant to start but was stuck on the M11 and arrived during warm-ups so Charlie Ruff kept his place in midfield and Yearn took a place amongst the substitutes bench. Jacob Marsden replaced Ovie Ejeheri in goal as he did for the previous round of the FA Cup. Academy youngsters Finn Wilkes and Harry Davison took their place in the matchday squad for the first time as Simpson took advantage of the 7 man bench to give some much needed matchday experience to the 2 youngsters.

City started brightly but it was the home side who had the first opportunity of the match. A free-kick from Kris Newby found Jesse Olukolu and his right-wing cross was narrowly headed wide by George Cox, although he was put off by his own man George Allen just behind him. It was a golden opportunity for Romford and it ended up being their best chance of the match. City started to gain traction in the game and Jamie Yila nodded a Jazzi Barnum-Bobb cross just over. Romford were sitting in and denying City space and also taking their time over restarts, especially goalkeeper Jake Anderson which was frustrating Chelmsford’s game-plan of ball in play and quick possession. However chances were still coming and Ade Oluwo headed Khale Da Costa’s corner over from point-blank range.

As the half wore on, City became more dominant and they had the next best chance when Liam Trotter’s through-ball found Khale Da Costa but he cut inside and fired straight at home keeper Anderson. He then made a better save when Simeon Jackson fired towards goal but he got down low to deny the hat-trick scorer from the previous round. City frustrated at the break then, and the teams headed towards the tunnel level at 0-0.

An even start to the second half didn’t really forecast the game to come as the opening 10 minutes of the second period was quite end-to-end. However after a free-kick in midfield was taken for the 3rd time, Charlie Ruff’s ball found Simeon Jackson who in turn squared for Khale Da Costa to slide the ball home for a much-needed opener with the winger opening the scoring for the second FA Cup match in a row. The game was pretty much one-way traffic after that with Romford’s resolve seemingly broken. After a corner was cleared off the line, City recycled possession and Liam Trotter’s cross found central defender Ade Oluwo who volleyed home brilliantly for the second just 4 minutes later.

Oluwo almost added a second as his header went just over but it was Da Costa who got his brace instead as he got onto the end of substitute Kai Yearn’s through ball, rounded the goalkeeper and stroked the ball home with Romford central-defender Bleron Ademi helping the ball over the line. The 4th goal came from a Jacob Marsden free-kick which was nodded on by Yila and Yearn which found sub Tom Blackwell through on goal but he was tugged back by former Bishop’s Stortford defender George Allen who received his marching orders for a hold in the box. Da Costa completed his hat-trick by firing the spot-kick under Anderson in net for Romford. City were now passing the ball with confidence and the almost 70 places in the footballing pyramid between the two teams was really starting to show. Another Kai Yearn through-ball found Blackwell and he fired across goal to complete the 5 goal second-half performance and City progressed in the end with relative ease.

A tie that was looking to be a close one after 55 minutes ended up in a comfortable 5-0 victory for City and they progress to the 4th Qualifying Round for the second season in a row. The draw will take place on Monday 3rd October at 3.15pm, live on Talksport 2.

Chelmsford City: Marsden, Barnum-Bobb, Oluwo, Terry, Vaz, Trotter (Ochieng 75), Dunne, Da Costa, Ruff (Yearn 58), Yila, Jackson (C), (Blackwell 64)

Unused Subsitutes: Ejeheri (GK), Wilkes, Davison, Lodovica

Goalscorers: Da Costa 56, 72, 79 (pen), Oluwo 60, Blackwell 84

Bookings: Vaz, Yearn

Man of the Match: Da Costa

Romford: Anderson, Newby (C) (Barlow 73), Ademi, Allen, Hurford, Wiggins (Balisani 62), Cox, Olukolu, Restrepo, Robe (Gordon 76), Morris

Unused Substitutes: Tuohy, Sibanda, Glenister, Barlow (GK)

Booking: Gordon

Red Card: Allen

Referee: S Read

Attendance: 336