Hereford United 0 Chelmsford City 3

First published in Sport

GLENN Pennyfather was enthusiastic with the way his youthful Chelmsford City side kept their 'foot on the pedal' to demolish Blue Square Bet Premier team Hereford United 3-0 on their own Edgar Street turf, Rob Edmans netting twice and David Rainford adding a third as City advanced thanks to a devastating first-half display.

The Clarets ensured they're just three games away from a potential Wembley Stadium final as they showed class to effectively move beyond Martin Foyle's professional outfit in the opening period. Boss Glenn was equally buoyed by the defensive capabilities his team exhibited afterwards to keep a welcome clean sheet.

Pennyfather reacted: "We've got a young side who are all still learning, and full credit to them today for taking opponents from a division above and beating them very well.

"Playing a team like Hereford is a good yardstick for where we want to be, and we've answered all those questions today. It shows exactly what we're capable of."

"We exposed them a lot in the first half and got our game plan spot-on - we were excellent and it could even have been four or five before half time. We were incisive with our passing and moved the ball about well.

"After the break we had to show a different side of ourselves and dig in because we knew they'd come at us, but even then we could still have added more."

Illness meant central defender Kenny Clark missed the trip, and the role he'd assumed between the defence and midfield against Hampton & Richmond Borough in midweek was taken by out-and-out midfielder Rainford, who wore the captain's armband. Top scorer Jamie Slabber was fit again, and he replaced the suspended Donovan Simmonds.

On 13 minutes Edmans gave a glimpse of what was coming up when some neat play from the Clarets worked the ball into the penalty area and his strike had to be pushed wide by goalkeeper Dan Hanford for a corner.

Nothing came of it but, six minutes later, Anthony Cook demonstrated some brilliant footwork before supplying Edmans, who rounded Hanford with composure and found the net to stun the former Football League side.

There was no immediate sign of Chelmsford sitting on their lead - Slabber whistling inches over the bar almost straight away. Hereford had hardly tested Clarets custodian Searle at the other end and, in fact, City built on the advantage with a 25th-minute second. An accurate cross from Justin Miller found Edmans unmarked and he headed into the net.

City even had time to grab a sensational third before the interval. They just seen Cook's low, driven shot fly across the face of the Hereford goal moments earlier - a touch by anyone would have guided it in - but they did convert on 42 minutes. It was Cook's cross again, and this time it was planted into the corner via a thunderous Rainford header.

Glenn, although naturally confident, refused to believe the tie was finished at half time, and he portrayed that to his players in the dressing room.

With several examples of leads disappearing fresh in their minds, he reminded them: "It still wasn't over, and I reiterated that to the team. Hereford will have got a proper talking to from their own manager so it was important that there was no showboating from us, and that we kept the pedal on the floor."

Boss Foyle certainly got a meagre reaction from his side after the break, and a decent effort from Simon Hackney arrived on 51 minutes following some tidy build-up.

They built upon that chance when Harry Pell's goalbound strike brought a save from City 'keeper Stuart Searle then, from the corner, he gathered Sam Clucas' poke at goal.

Just before the hour, Clarets defender Richard Brindley had to intervene at the last moment to deny Clucas a tap-in as Hereford began to build up some pressure.

That was about as threatening as the Bulls would be all afternoon and Slabber could have notched another for the visitors on 71 minutes, attempting to find space inside the near post without success.

United substitute Kyle Perry tested Searle towards the end to briefly warm the 1,124 spectators, but it was City who moved into the last 16 following thanks to their destructive first-half exhibition.

"At this stage you're guaranteed a tough game whoever you're paired with," explained Glenn. "We'd just love to get a home draw."

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