Eastbourne Borough produced a belw-par performance with a wretched first-half hour, and three goals conceded, giving them too much to do at Chelmsford on Saturday.
Stronger in the second half and indeed dominant last 20 minutes, and frantic finish.
But they just failed to rescue a point. Gruelling journey was poor preparation - well over an hour at the Dartford Tunnel.
Then the slowest of starts, and a goal gifted to Chelmsford through defensive hesitation after three minutes.
Sports did steady things gradually, and almost equalised with Charlie Walker’s close-range strike, deflected for a corner. But City were punchy and direct and scored another goal from a corner on 26 minutes. Borough responded with an excellent effort by Ryan Hall, denied only by a fine save, but on 37 minutess it was 3-0 with a glancing header from a long cross, which the defence should have dealt with better.
Kiran KJ pulled back the lively Walker and Dean Cox converted the penalty on 40 minutess.
The second half was a definite improvement - couldn’t have been much worse! - with a change of shape, Dawes moving to wide right and Kane Wills playing further forward.
It worked pretty well and Borough had more of the ball and more control. Lloyd fired high and over on 55 minutes from an inviting position, and when Yemi then replaced him from the bench, it was looking promising. Chelmo, of course, only had to sit tight and spoil, which they did effectively. You sensed that the next goal, if it came soon enough, would put Borough in with a real chance of saving the game.
Tobi volleyed just too high from a fine combination move by Wills and Cox, but the minutes were slipping away.
Finally on 87 minutes Hall grabbed a smart second and Borough then put in a mighty effort, with two or three close chances, but Chelmsford clung on.
After the dreadful first half hour, there was at least some respectability restored, but not enough to save the unbeaten away record. A disappointing afternoon with defensive flaws ruthlessly punished.