Report - Whitehawk 0-3 Oxford City
Success at the Seaside
By Patrick Lock
Three goals in the opening 27 minutes were enough to see Oxford City beat Whitehawk at The TerraPura Ground on Saturday afternoon, registering their first points of the league season.
City made one change to the side that fell to defeat on Tuesday evening; Guri Demuria came out of the side for Horatio Hirst, who lined up with Matt Paterson and David Pearce in a front three. Eddie Jones, Zac McEachran and Reece Fleet lined up in midfield, whilst the defence reverted to a conventional four consisting of Godfrey Poku, captain Lee Henderson, Joe Oastler and Freddie Grant. Craig Hill retained his position between the sticks.
The Hoops started well and on 4 minutes won a free kick out wide on the right touchline after McEachran was felled. As the ball was delivered, Oastler was fouled just inside the box and the referee didn’t hesitate to point to the spot. Paterson stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way as he placed into the bottom right corner for his second league goal in three games.
The game became very end to end following the opener, City’s defence successfully dealing with a few Whitehawk attacks. The Hoops however doubled their lead on 20 minutes, a great move found its way to Hirst on the edge of the box, he cut onto his right foot and from the edge of the D placed the ball into the bottom left corner with great precision.
The hosts were forced into an early change, and almost immediately broke forward, a goal bound effort was brilliantly blocked by Henderson for a corner which came to nothing. Almost immediately, City added a third. The ball started on the left wing for The Hoops, and was worked across to the centre where McEachran was. He passed over to Fleet who was in space, he then broke into the box, and placed the ball past the keeper to give The Hoops a 3-0 lead.
The Hoops almost made it four on the stroke of Half Time, Hirst was played in down the left hand side of the box, his effort on the angle struck the upright, but couldn’t fall out to a City foot to bury the rebound. The referee’s whistle soon followed to end a very successful half for The Hoops.
Whitehawk started the second half the better and forced a series of corners in the opening 10 minutes following some good saves from Hill. The end of the spell of corners saw the ball find its way to the edge of the box, but the resulting shot cleared the crossbar. City were then able to gain more possession and relieve some of the pressure on the defence.
The Hoops made their first two substitutes on 65 minutes, Ezra Forde replaced Matt Paterson, and Mamadou Fofana replaced Reece Fleet. Moments later and Whitehawk broke with a fantastic dribbling display, beating several City challenges but. before a shot could be produced, a superb sliding tackle from Henderson ended the danger, despite causing himself some temporary discomfort. Henderson was able to continue, however it was his central defensive partner, Joe Oastler, who was withdrawn for City’s final substitution on 75 minutes, replaced by Cristian Navarro.
Any chance of a Whitehawk comeback was dealt a big blow on 79 minutes as left back Dan Harding was shown a second yellow card for a foul on the touchline on a City player, leaving the hosts down to 10 men for the last ten minutes. These passed largely without incident however the referee’s whistle saved Whitehawk 'keeper Alex Tokarczyk’s blushes on 90 minutes. The stopper was off his line remonstrating with the linesman as Freddie Grant lofted the ball into the back of the net from the touchline, 30 yards out, the referee disallowing the goal as it had been taken too early.
The final whistle soon followed which signalled a fine opening win for City in the National League South this season, with the boost of also keeping their first clean sheet of the campaign. The Hoops return to National League South action on Tuesday evening, welcoming one of our more local league opponents Hungerford Town to Marsh Lane.
Oxford City: Hill, Poku, Grant, Jones, Henderson, Oastler (Navarro 74), McEachran, Fleet (Fofana 65), Paterson (Forde 65), Hirst, Pearce.