Harborough Town lost out in a closely fought contest as higher league Chelmsford City progressed to the next round of the FA Trophy.
The atmosphere was electric within the Beehive, but it was the visitors who got off to the better start as Callum Jones buried his penalty into the top right corner within the first ten minutes of the game.
Chances then started to come thick and fast, with shots from Harborough’s Amar Sandhu and Dodzi Agbenu getting blocked, before Agbenu recovered well to deny Charlie Ruff who was sent through on goal.
Agbenu’s next effort, a half volley from the edge of the area nearly bulged the back of the net, but the ball flew past the wrong side of the post from the home side’s point of view, while Elliott Taylor kept the scoreline the same, diving low down at his near post to deny Ody Alfa at the other end.
Dan Forbes’ header and Connor Kennedy’s shot on the swivel tested Joshua Oluwayemi early in the second half as the hosts pushed for an equaliser, but it took a heroic effort from skipper Ben Williams to spread his body and clear the ball off the line as Chelmsford were inches away from doubling the advantage.
The second goal for the visitors would come soon after however, with Henry Ochieng unleashing a powerful effort which nestled into the back of the net via the post.
On another day, Harborough could have had a hatful of goals, but late chances passed them by as Joel Carta was twice denied by Oluwayemi, before his looping header cannoned off of the crossbar.
Sandhu’s near-post drive was deflected wide by a Chelmsford defence that would go on to keep the clean sheet as the Step 2 side progressed to the next round of the Cup.
Harborough manager Mitch Austin was quick to complement his team, stating: “I am proud of the performance that the lads put in, creating a number of good chances that unfortunately did not fall for us.”
“All focus will now turn to the league starting this Tuesday as we push for promotion!
Harborough Town 0 (0)
Chelmsford City 2 (1)
Jones (7 PEN) Ochieng (76)
By Cristian Bratu