Maidenhead United vs Oxford City - Match Abandoned!
The teams must do it all over again
75 minutes of effort from both sides counted for nothing as today's FA Trophy tie between Oxford City and Maidenhead was abandoned with just 15 minutes remaining.
Persistent rain in the buildup to the game put the fixture at risk and created extremely difficult conditions for both sides. Kabby Tshimanga made the most of the unpredictable surface when he broke away midway through the first half to give the Hoops the lead against the run of play, but worsening conditions dashed any hopes the home side may have had of a comeback.
Injuries forced Mark Jones into shuffling his deck significantly – Zac McEachran, and Sam Nombe all missing out whilst Josh Ashby and Ben Jefford were fit enough only for a spot on the bench. The result was a youthful City squad: Crag King lining up in goal, protected by a back four of Eddie Jones, Tom Carter, Udoka-Godwin-Malife, and Joe Oastler. Kyran Wiltshire joined Reece Fleet in midfield, behind Kunle Otudeko, with Bobson Bawling and Craig Fasanmade in wide positions. Kabby Tshimanga rounded out the side as lone striker, with youngsters Ben Barrett and John O'Donoghue primed for action on the bench.
The Hoops weathered two storms for the opening 15 minutes as both water and crosses rained into their penalty area. King was called into action within just three minutes, requiring two strong hands to beat away a deflected cross, and was kept busy claiming a cascade of deliveries.
When the Hoops did venture forwards, they looked to exploit the significant slope of the York Road pitch with an unusually direct style of play. They made the breakthrough in the 20th minute: the Maidenhead defence seemed unbothered by Carter's long pass, but Tshimanga's persistence saw the forward keep the ball in on the byline. With little by way of support arriving an optimistic low ball into the box somehow found its way past Carl Pentney and into the back of the net, via the far post.
The goal heralded a period of relative dominance for City, Fasanmade in particular finding plenty of space down the right wing. Ex-Magpie Wiltshire showed good feet to create space for a shot from the edge of the area, but was unable to find the target, before Fasanmade took his turn to have an effort blocked.
Half time provided an opportunity for ground staff to clear water from the pitch but, despite their hard work, the second period began with a number of short passes failing to reach their targets as both sides once again struggled to adapt.
With just under an hour played, Bobson Bawling fell victim to the conditions – a firm sliding challenge catching the winger and ending his involvement in the game, Ben Barrett his replacement.
The Hoops then found themselves under pressure once more, a game of pinball in their penalty area somehow not ending in an effort on target.
The match was eventually abandoned in the 75th minute – another uncontrolled challenge, this time from Oastler, the final straw.
As a result of the abandonment, the match will be replayed in its entirety this Tuesday, the 18th of December.