Report - Oxford City 1-0 Whitehawk
Late Louis goal seals the points for City
Jefferson Louis’ late goal saw Oxford City beat Whitehawk narrowly at Marsh Lane, making it six unbeaten on home soil.
After last week’s defeat at Weston-super-Mare, Mark Jones made two changes to the lineup; Mike Fondop & Stephane Ngamvoulou replacing Kaiman Anderson & Sami Khawaja. This saw Fondop partner Jefferson Louis in attack, Ngamvoulou joining a midfield of Godfrey Poku, Wilson Carvalho and Scott Davies, on his Birthday. The defence of Craig Hill, Jordy Ngathe, Lee Henderson, Jean Niate and Matt Peake-Pijnen remained the same from that game with Weston.
City started well, forcing two chances in the opening five minutes of the game. The first of these came in the 2nd minute, a free kick earned 25 yards out to the right of goal was excellently whipped in by Davies who found Fondop’s head, his header going just wide of the left post. Fondop shortly after provided a headed pass to Louis on the edge of the box, however he was unable to direct his shot on the turn on target. Almost immediately afterwards, a ball from out wide found Louis again on the edge of the box, however his effort went straight into the arms of the keeper.
After the early action, both teams shared a spell of midfield play, the sides having a few free kicks each delivered into the box, that ultimately ended up in nothing. Oxford City were delivered a blow in the 18th minute, as the promising partnership between Louis and Fondop was broken, the latter looking to have pulled his hamstring, ending with City’s first substitution, Kaiman Anderson taking his place.
With half an hour on the clock, it was Whitehawk’s turn to have a few chances at the City goal. On 31 minutes, Chris M’Boungou managed to get onto the end of a Dan Harding ball, before driving into the side netting. Just four minutes after, Danny Mills found himself with the ball on the right hand side of the six yard box, his shot across goal drifting just wide of the far post. City then broke: the ball was crossed for Anderson, his looping header providing an easy save for Lucas Covolan.
Moments after though, Whitehawk forced the game’s first meaningful save out of Craig Hill. Mike West picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and his shot, heading towards the top left of the goal, was seen late by the City stopper who managed to get a hand to the ball to push wide. The Hoops again attacked following this, and Anderson’s powerful shot across goal was blocked for a City corner.
The chance of the half fell to Oxford City on 41 minutes. Jefferson Louis managed to evade a few challenges and found himself 1-on-1 with Covolan, his well hit shot from the corner of the six yard box cannoning back off the post. Half Time was signalled shortly after by referee Sam Purkiss, an entertaining half only lacking in goals.
In complete contrast to the First Half, the second period started very quietly, with both teams struggling to get forward effectively. It took until the 65th minute for the first real chance of the half, Frankie Sutherland finding himself wide in the box, his shot was initially deflected, but with the City ‘keeper unsure of its destination, he made sure by pushing the ball away from goal. 3 minutes later and Danny Mills found himself clear on goal, the City stopper closed the angle well, in the end saving well with his legs.
Two minutes later, Godfrey Poku found himself with space 30 yards from goal, his shot producing a good save from Covolan diving to his right. Mark Jones saw this as a good opportunity to bolster the attacking options, as Stephane Ngamvoulou was replaced by Ezra Forde.
The game again quietened down entering the last 10 minutes, Whitehawk earning a few corners and free kicks which were dealt with well by The Hoops defence. With the game looking likely to end a 0-0 stalemate, Jefferson Louis was found unmarked in the area by Scott Davies, he was met by an advancing Lucas Covolan, at which point he lifted the ball cooly over the Whitehawk stopper, into the far corner of the net, to all but seal the three points for City.
With four added minutes quickly signalled by the referee, Whitehawk earnt a couple of free kicks, however City saw these out with relative ease, to make it 6 matches unbeaten at Marsh Lane, and also got them back to winning ways after the defeat last weekend. The victory saw the Hoops move 15 points clear of the relegation zone, and with just 9 games remaining in the season, look to be all but safe from relegation, albeit still mathematically possible. Oxford City are next in action on Tuesday evening, facing North Leigh at Thame United in the Semi-Final of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup.
Speaking after the game, City boss Mark Jones was delighted with the win:
“ It was a good win for us today, an important win, which takes us 15 points clear of the relegation zone. It was a hard fought game at home, I thought we had the better of the key moments in the first half, without really testing their keeper too much. Obviously, Jefferson Louis hit the post with a good effort!
It’s difficult at home on a hard surface, it’s hard to get the ball down and play quickly and a lot of credit needs to go to the players, they kept going, they kept pushing, they kept working, but sitting on the bench I didn’t really see us scoring as the game went on. Jefferson Louis though came up with a good finish after some good work by Scott Davies, and we’re obviously delighted with the three points, but enormous credit has to be given to the players for their effort, their work rate and their commitment.
It’s another clean sheet, and I think it’s a very big win and a very important win for the club, so I’m really, really pleased, but of course we can play better. It’s a really good feeling to get a winner in the last minute, so I’m delighted for the boys, and we can look forward to the Oxfordshire Senior Cup Semi Final on Tuesday”
Oxford City: Hill, Ngathe, Peake-Pijnen, Davies, Henderson ©, Niate, Ngamvoulou (Forde 72), Poku, Louis, Fondop (Anderson 18), Carvalho.
Unused Subs: Khawaja, Tutton.