Gloucester City were condemned to an opening day defeat in the National League South as two goals from Kudus Oyenuga were enough for last season’s play-off runners up.
New signing Robbie Cundy started on the bench for the Tigers as Tim Harris favoured a centre back partnership of Sam Avery and Spencer Hamilton, opting to shift Kieran Parselle to left back to replace the injured Lewis Hall.
Ethan Moore made his competitive debut for City as Harris also handed a first competitive start to Karnell Chambers, Alex Harris and the aforementioned Parselle.
It wasn’t to be the start that Harris wanted in goal for his first league game with the Tigers, as Chelmsford went ahead after Oyenuga bundled home a long throw-in at the back post.
After a quarter of an hour City were nearly back in it as Darren Mullings made one his trademark runs to the near post to flick a header goalwards from a Hanks corner, but the midfielder’s effort missed the target.
The wind was playing havoc on Sam Beasant’s goal kicks and the Chelmsford defence in general, as City looked to stretch their Essex opponents.
Hanks looked to cross in from deep towards Ethan Moore who looked to be pushed as he went for a header in the box, but Josh Smith waved away the protests.
Williams, Parker and Chambers were continuing to stretch Chelmsford and the lively Williams made a purposeful run past four men before finding Chambers, but his shot was held by Beasant.
The second half started with much of the same for City as Hanks again looked to find Moore from a deep position, with Beasant flying off his line to punch clear.
The game then became a little scrappy, with several late tackles coming in culminating in a number of bookings.
Scott Davies went into the book for the host for an accumulation of fouls, with Darren Mullings also being shown yellow for catching Oyenuga late.
City were still having chances to break open the Clarets back line, but it was the hosts that nearly scored the second of the afternoon.
Were it not for some exceptional defending by Keiran Thomas on the line, Michael Spillane would have found the net with his strike.
Oyenuga should have had his second of the day but somehow missed an open goal after Alex Harris had done really well to deny Chris Dickson’s one-on-one chance.
The goalscorer did have his brace as the game petered to a conclusion, though, as substitute Jonathan Giles crossed into the back post and it was left to Oyenuga to head past Harris.
City were denied two penalty shouts towards the end of the game as both Will Morford and Ed Williams were brought down in the area but the protests were waved away.
Chelmsford City: Beasant, Omuzusi (capt), Braham-Barrett, Davies, Bush, Spillane, Johnson, Church, Oyenuga, Dickson (Barnard 75’), West (Giles 80’)
Subs not used: Haines, Stevenson, Daley
Gloucester City: Harris, Thomas (capt), Parselle, Hamilton, Avery, Mullings, Hanks, Chambers (King 46’), Moore (Kotwica 66’), Parker (Morford 66’), Williams
Subs not used: Mbunga, Cundy
Referee: Josh Smith
Star man: Keiran Thomas