CLARETS Manager Glenn Pennyfather pulled no punches after watching his team humbled by Hayes & Yeading United in the Blue Square Bet South, labelling their performance "diabolical" after goals from Daniel Wishart, Kudus Oyenuga and Yassin Moutaouakil saw the hosts jump up to seventh place.
The match at the Kingfield Stadium was one of City's two games in hand on leaders Salisbury City, who remain six points in front, and Pennyfather was livid with the result after the team had built up a twelve-match unbeaten run beforehand.
He reacted: "It's the manner of the way we lost tonight which leaves a bitter taste in the mouth - it was absolutely diabolical. I have to apologise to the supporters who came and watched that performance."
"It was completely out of character as we lacked desire, commitment and work rate. That game was our Colchester United. I'll offer no excuses about the players we had out, because the team we fielded was good enough.
"If we want to be successful, we'll have to do a lot better than that. There's a fine line between being confident and being arrogant, and you can't step out on a pitch and expect to beat a team."
Glenn was forced to ring the changes to the starting eleven due to injuries. Mark Haines shifted across to right-back to cover for Richard Brindley, with Nicolas Bondon and Adam Tann being drafted into the centre of defence.
That meant Kenny Clark moved forward to the heart of midfield instead of David Rainford. Max Cornhill and Rob Edmans were also missing, with wide men Anthony Cook and Ishmael Welsh stepping up.
Hayes had the first opportunity of the match in the 14th minute when Clarets goalkeeper Stuart Searle saved a Luke Williams shot comfortably low to his left.
But the Middlesex outfit moved in front seven minutes later as Wishart was put through one-on-one with Searle before taking it round him and slotting into an empty net. It was no less than Hayes deserved.
In the 31st minute Chelmsford survived a penalty appeal after Donovan Simmonds went in late on Mark Bentley, who was harshly cautioned by Referee David Woolford for a supposed dive.
Williams soon got into the City area and rolled a decent 38th-minute chance wide of the post, but Hayes had the last laugh of the period a minute later.
Oyenuga was brought down in the penalty area by City's makeshift midfielder Clark before getting up to coolly tap the resulting spot kick into the net himself and make it 2-0.
In first half injury time Tobi Joseph fired narrowly over the bar for a dominant Hayes side, and Glenn had a great deal of reorganising to do during the break if his team were to reply.
However, the second half started as the first had ended, Searle having to save with his legs after Joseph was the latest player to find himself clean through.
Hayes called Searle into action at regular intervals and Bentley's excellent nod at goal was about an inch away from the left-hand post, while Chelmsford's stopper was forced into a brilliant save to deny Oyenuga's latest header. Pele was then involved in a separate attack to no avail.
Mid-way through the period City attempted to salvage something with substitutions but the flow of chances towards their goal continued, Oyenuga somehow skewing another Hayes shot wide.
It was then no great shock when a third arrived in calamitous fashion on 70 minutes. City had a free kick 30 yards from goal, but they wasted it as Hayes broke quickly and Moutaouakil took advantage to pounce on a delivery across goal.
Glenn was understandably furious after the game, stating: "Hayes passed it reasonably well, but you can do that when you're under no pressure. We knew they had pace in their team, but again that's only effective if someone lets you hurt them with it.
"We weren't one or two yards off the pace tonight, it was more like five yards, and I'm struggling to take any positives out of tonight at all. It's a poor indictment of what we're capable of."