LITTLE Oakley's FA Cup adventure ended after they were beaten 2-1 at National League South side Chelmsford City in the second qualifying round, writes LARRY DOBKIN.

The Acorns were backed by 200 fans at Melbourne Park in the biggest match of their history and pushed their hosts all the way.

Harman's speculative 25-yard shot sailed wide early on, before Charlie Sheringham's snap-shot brought a world-class save from Joyce.

The Oakley keeper palmed the ball out of the six-yard box and then tipped the follow-up shot from an oncoming attacker around the post.

Oakley's supporters went wild soon after when their team had the ball on the net but their joy was short-lived as Mann's effort was ruled out for offside.

Chelmsford began to take control of the game with Oakley relying on breakaways.

Wright fired over for the hosts before they took the lead just before the half hour through Sheringham, who powerfully headed past Joyce at the back post from a corner.

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Oakley went at the break trailing but they come out for the second half with renewed effort closing down Chelmsford at every opportunity.

But with many ex-professionals this proved hard and was providing Chelmsford with space after they had broken out of the squeeze.

The ever-reliable Joyce denied Jackson at full stretch pushing the ball around the post for a corner, as Chelmsford pushed for a second.

Joyce held Sheringham's effort and the bulk of the play was in midfield, with Oakley battling in every challenge.

But Chelmsford doubled their lead when a long-flighted ball found Dave Winfield who rose to guide the ball past Joyce.

Oakley did not give up and their midfield started to get more possession.

With five minutes left, Nobbs' free-kick saw Woods skilfully nod towards the oncoming Mayhew, who tapped home for 2-1.

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Oakley pressed hard and Mayhew came close to equalising in the closing seconds, only for a cross to cannon off his standing leg and the chance went begging.

Despite the defeat, the Acorns' fans who sang throughout the game gave the team a heroes ovation off the pitch - this was a team with fans and players united.

Little Oakley's man of the match was Dan Joyce with a string of world-class saves.