Report - Weston-super-Mare 4-2 Oxford City
City made to pay for poor Second Half
A below-par second half performance saw Oxford City fall to a 4-2 defeat at Weston-super-Mare on Saturday afternoon, a result that still leaves them needing four points to ensure mathematical safety thanks to Poole Town’s win at home to Wealdstone.
Kavan Cotter’s first goal for the Hoops, along with a strike from Rob Sinclair, were cancelled out by a brace from Gethyn Hill in an entertaining first period, however the Seagulls took control after the break and killed off the game through Aaron Parsons and Hill, who completed his hat-trick.
Mark Jones opted to make three changes to his starting eleven following last week’s win against Eastbourne with Connor Stevens coming in to replace the injured Frankie Musonda; Godfrey Poku making a return from injury, replacing Mamdou Fofana; and Kavan Cotter coming into the side to make his first City start in place of Zac McEachran. Cotter and Rob Sinclair partnered each other in wide, free-roaming roles while Poku and Reece Fleet were the central midfielders, just behind the front two of Sam Nombe and Matt Paterson. Stevens joined a traditional back four as he partnered Joe Oastler in a central defensive position, while Udoka Godwin-Malife and Freddie Grant started in the full back positions. Craig King completed the eleven as he lined up in goal.
Despite a good start from City, it was the hosts who struck first in just the fifth minute, through a penalty. Referee Marc Whaley pointed to the spot after Godwin-Malife was adjudged to have brought his man down, Gethyn Hill placing his spot kick straight down the centre after King committed to his right.
The Hoops fought valiantly following this set back and were nearly level on 16 minutes as Fleet’s chipped cross found the head of Paterson, however City’s top scorer was only able to guide his effort just wide of the post.
Ten minutes later City did have their equaliser. Cotter earned possession before cutting in, and shooting. His effort took a heavy deflection and looped into the top corner, leaving the wrong-footed Luke Purnell with no chance.
The Hoops kept up their new-found momentum and were able to force their way into the lead on 31 minutes. Rob Sinclair burst into the hosts’ box with the ball before powerfully striking under Purnell to put his side ahead.
The entertaining half did have one final twist as the hosts pulled themselves level, on 40 minutes. A cleverly worked corner routine was played to Jarred Welch on the edge of the D, his goalbound effort was deflected in via Hill, who doubled his tally for the match.
A tied game heading into the break was probably a fair result with both sides having good sight of their opponents’ goal.
The Seagulls started the second period much the better side and called King into action just two minutes in. A free kick about 25 yards out was struck by Welch, and looked to be dipping just under the crossbar, however the City stopper was able to get up late to tip the effort superbly over the bar.
In the 52nd minute, however, Weston were able to go one better. A free kick from out wide was whipped in towards the far post where Aaron Parsons rose highest to head his side back into the lead.
Mark Jones looked to react to his side going behind by reverting to a 3-5-2 formation that had worked so well for his side over the past couple of months. To adapt to this system, he made a double substitution, the first seeing Godfrey Poku replaced by Mamdou Fofana, and Udoka Godwin-Malife coming off for Lee Henderson – making his first appearance since his serious injury against Chelmsford City in November.
The move initially seemed to breathe a bit more life into the Hoops who were able to get the ball into Paterson and Nombe a little more, however without really testing Purnell.
The City boss make his final change on 73 minutes as Sam Nombe was replaced by Zac McEachran.
A goal was to follow this change; however, it fell once again to the hosts. The ball was given away cheaply in the City half, allowing the ball to be poked through to the unmarked Hill, who made no mistake in chipping over King for his hat-trick.
City were nearly gifted a chance to get back into the game immediately after the goal. A mix-up between Jake Lee and Purnell saw the centre-back slice over his ‘keeper’s head, however Jason Pope recovered the situation superbly and was able to control the ball just before Sinclair was able to tap the ball home.
Oxford City have a week’s break before their next fixture as they host Bognor Regis Town at Marsh Lane in the National League South next Saturday, a 3pm kick-off.
Oxford City: King, Godwin-Malife (Henderson 58), Grant, Poku ©(Fofana 58), Stevens, Oastler, Nombe (McEachran 73), Fleet, Paterson, Sinclair, Cotter.