Match Report


Tue 04 Dec 12

Reds eased into the third round of the FA Cup for the third successive year after a comfortable win over non-league Chelmsford.

Nicky Adams broke the deadlock with an angled shot on 23 minutes and after Chelmsford's Donovan Simmonds was sent off for a second yellow card Billy Clarke doubled the lead with a close-range volley five minutes before the break.

It was one-way traffic for most of the game with Chelmsford keeper Stuart Searle defying his former club with a string of fine saves while Mark Connolly hit the underside of the bar from 35 yards. Chelmsford rode their luck at the back but failed to test Paul Jones in the entire 90 minutes, although they were clearly disadvantaged by playing with ten men for so long. 

Reds had 38 shots at goal and 66% of possession and those stats accurately sum up an afternoon when the visitors struggled to get any toehold in the game.

Richie Barker had made three changes with David Hunt, Sergio Torres and Claude Davis all restored to the starting line-up. Nathan Byrne and Mike Jones dropped to the bench while illness ruled out both Kyle McFadzean and Conor Clifford.

The boss had demanded a fast start from his side and they responded by taking early control of the game. On 11 minutes Gary Alexander's goalbound shot hit a defender and the ball fell to Josh Simpson whose effort was blocked by keeper Stuart Searle.

Seven minutes later Billy Clarke's drive deflected off Justin Miller into the grateful arms of Searle who then pushed out a fiercely struck drive from the striker.

Reds' pressure paid off on 23 minutes. Simpson's pass into space allowed Adams to cut in and his angled drive took a deflection on its way through the hands of a surprised Searle. 

Mat Sadler nearly got his first for the club on the half-hour but, under pressure from a defender as he broke into the box, he poked his shot just wide. Four minutes later Sadler was tripped on halfway by Donovan Simmonds and, having already been booked, the City player was sent off.

Reds doubled their lead five minutes before the break. Hunt collected a pass from Alexander, swung a deep diagonal ball in from the right and Clarke expertly volleyed it into the bottom corner. 

It continued to be one-way traffic in the second half. Davis headed Adams' corner over, Torres wasn't far away from 25 yards then Mark Connolly went even closer on 58 minutes, smashing a fantastic shot from 35 yards onto the underside of the bar.

Searle then made two superb saves to keep out efforts from Akpan, who had picked his way through the visitors' defence, before getting down to keep out Clarke's effort. Then midway through the second half Clarke was in on goal but from six yards out lifted his shot high and wide.

Clarke was replaced by John Akinde shortly afterwards and he stooped to head just wide with 12 minutes to go as the game continued to be played almost entirely in the City half. Searle then made another save, keeping out Akinde's close-range strike, by which time Mike Jones and Dannie Bulman had both come on for Reds.

Reds finally got the third goal they deserved when Anthony Cook brought down Torres in the box and Alexander stepped up to send Searle the wrong way from the spot. 

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