Report - Hampton & Richmond Borough 1-0 Oxford City
By Ryan Bratley
Ryan Moss's controversial second half strike was the difference between the sides as Hampton and Richmond Borough ran out 1-0 winners against Oxford City in Tuesday night's Vanarama National League South clash.
City 'keeper Craig Hill's penalty save had kept the scores level going into half time, although the hosts had already seen a goal ruled out for offside.
Mark Jones made a small number of changes to the lineup that faced St Albans on Saturday, most notably Lee Henderson retaking the captain's armband. The skipper joined Joe Oastler and Guri Demuria in the centre of defence with Godfrey Poku and Freddie Grant completing the back five. A midfield of Eddie Jones, Reece Fleet, Zac McEachran and David Pearce supported lone striker Matt Paterson with Craig Hill in goal.
In te early stages, The Beavers threatened with some good shots from range. Ex-Hoop Shaun Macauley fired well wide before Josh Casey flashed an effort just past Hill's far post.
McEachran showed his confidence on the ball around the quarter of an hour mark, dancing his way down the right wing to the byline before cutting back to win a corner. Pearce also combined well with Poku to bring the ball into a similar position but, unable to find the room for a shot, hung a teasing ball up to the far post which nobody could convert.
Seconds later McEachran was back at it again, this time getting a shot away which deflected onto the bar before bouncing clear.
This good spell of City chances quickly came to an end as the hosts appeared to have found the breakthrough twice in the space of five minutes.
First, a simple move through the middle saw the ball in the back of the City net, but the linesman's flag quickly cut The Beavers' celebrations short.
The hosts' golden chance from the spot came as Guri Demuria brought his man down. Tom Jelley looked confident as he stepped up to take the spot kick but his low effort was pushed around the post by Craig Hill.
The penalty save re-ignited City for one final push before the break, and they looked set to make the most of this as Poku was released down the right channel. However, the full back was scythed down from behind near the edge of the area and the home crowd watched with baited breath as they waited to see what colour the card would be. Much to their relief, the referee decided that Nathan Collier was not the last man – showing nothing more than a yellow card.
On the stroke of half time, a promising City break ended as Godfrey Poku was scythed down from behind near the edge of the area. Claim's that Nathan Collier was the last man did nothing to move referee David Spain as he produced a booking.
The beginning of the second half proved to be as controversial as the end of the first.
With McEachran having come close to catching the goalkeeper out of position from range, the Beavers went on the attack themselves. A spell of sustained pressure saw the ball flash across the City goal a number of times before Ryan Moss managed to fire in from a tight angle. The hosts' celebrations were once again cut short by the linesman's flag, this time signalling for a City free kick, but after some deliberation between the officials the goal was eventually given.
No trailing, the Hoops continued to provide flashes of attacking quality. McEachran once again went close from range whilst Grant spurned a good shooting opportunity in the box.
The best chance came from one of many second half corners. A good delivery picked out Henderson at the back post and his header back across goal sent Sam Howes scrambling to his left.
Oxford City: Hill, Poku, Grant, Oastler, Henderson (C), Demuria (Forde 77), Jones, Fleet, Paterson, McEachran, Pearce (Hirst 65).
Subs not used: Ngathe, Navarro, Fassanmade