Report - Gloucester City 0-1 Oxford City
Boxing Day Success for The Hoops
Oxford City picked up an important three points on Boxing Day as they edged to a 1-0 win over Gloucester City in Evesham. Rob Sinclair scored the game’s only goal on the quarter hour mark to lift City to 16th place, four points clear of the drop zone. The win extended their unbeaten run to 8 matches in the league.
Mark Jones largely stuck with the same eleven that had earned a point at home to Hampton & Richmond Borough on Saturday afternoon. He made just one change as Dave Pearce was replaced by Reece Fleet out wide, partnering Zac McEachran in the wide positions. The central midfield remained with captain Godfrey Poku, Mo Fofana and Rob Sinclair all sitting in behind lone striker Matt Paterson. Jack Stevens once again retained his position between the sticks, whilst his back four consisted of Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain at right back, Freddie Grant at left back, while Cristian Navarro and Joe Oastler were between the two at centre back.
City started well and managed to control the majority of the possession in the opening quarter of an hour. Matt Paterson had the first real shot of the game on 10 minutes, however his effort looped wide of the post.
The Hoops earned a free kick on the edge of the centre circle on 15 minutes after Godfrey Poku was pulled down. The set piece was taken quickly by the City captain who found Rob Sinclair in plenty of space. He was able to run unchallenged into the box and then squeezed an effort under Gloucester stopper Tom Hadler to give City the lead.
The hosts seemed to grab more of a foothold on the game following the goal and were pressing forward to try and force an equaliser. They had a chance on 20 minutes as Jack Stevens’ punch from an effort on the by-line found Joe Parker outside of the box, however he was unable to steer his effort into the corner of the net.
The game became scrappy following this and both sides struggled to hold onto possession. The best chances of the remaining minutes of the half were a couple of headers over the bar from the hosts from former City defender Robbie Cundy and Ethan Moore.
The weather conditions deteriorated over the half time break and made it more and more difficult to play the further the second period went on.
City boss Mark Jones had decided to make one half time switch, with Eddie Jones replacing Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain at right back. The move nearly paid off immediately as he got in down the right and played the ball across to Matt Paterson whose fiercely struck effort was only parried by Hadler. Sinclair looked to get his foot to the loose ball, however the Gloucester stopper recovered well to get a hand to it.
Moments later and Gloucester had a chance of their own. A corner ended up bouncing around the City box, and after a couple of blocks found its way to Karnell Chambers who could only blaze over the bar.
The Hoops boss made his remaining two changes on 78 minutes as Ezra Forde and Dave Pearce replaced Rob Sinclair and Godfrey Poku. The two new men linked up well in their first few minutes and were causing problems for the hosts defence with their pace. Forde was able to get a shot away shortly after coming on, however was straight at the Gloucester stopper.
As the clock ticked over onto 90, four minutes were added on by the referee. The hosts increasingly piled men forwards and nearly got their reward in the first of the stoppage time minutes. A cross out from the right was deflected off of a City man and found Will Morford who headed into the empty net. The celebrations were, however, cut short as the referee’s assistant had his flag raised. Despite some consultations between the two, the decision stood, and City escaped.
The full time whistle followed shortly after signalling an important three points, keeping their second consecutive clean sheet in the process. The Hoops have risen two places in the league standings to 17th, whilst putting a four point cushion between them and the drop zone.
Oxford City return to action with the return fixture of this festive double header on New Year’s Day, a 3pm kick-off at Marsh Lane.