Report - Poole Town 2-0 Oxford City
Final Day Defeat for City
Oxford City fell to a 2-0 final day defeat over Poole Town at Tatnam Road on Saturday afternoon, however victory for the hosts was too little to see them to safety in the National League South as they were condemned to relegation as Hungerford Town won at East Thurrock United.
Both goals came in the second half as former Oxford United favourite James Constable and Steve Devlin both netted to see their side to the win.
Mark Jones stuck mainly with the same line-up that started Thursday night’s match at Wealdstone, making just two changes. These were both like-for-like swaps as Mamadou Fofana replaced Godfrey Poku in centre midfield and Kavan Cotter replaced Zac McEachran on the right wing. They were joined in midfield by Reece Fleet and Rob Sinclair. The defence remained the same as Eddie Jones and Freddie Grant operated as wing-backs, while captain Joe Oastler, Frankie Musonda, and Connor Stevens were the centre-backs, protecting goal-keeper Craig King. Matt Paterson rounded off the lineup as the lone striker.
The first chance fell City’s way in the 5th minute. A corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Reece Fleet was waiting. His volleyed effort had Nick Hutchings desperately scrambling, however the effort eventually landed on the roof of the net.
The hosts could have taken the lead themselves later in the half. Steve Devlin was played in down the right, however King closed down the midfielder well to take the save, before pouncing on the loose ball before an attacker could get a foot to it.
With news filtering through that Hungerford Town had taken the lead at East Thurrock, Poole’s destiny was out of their own hands, knowing that all they can do is win, and hope that the Crusaders slip up in Essex during the second half.
The game was defined by a three-minute spell shortly after the hour. On 61 minutes, Sinclair received the ball at the edge of the area, before weaving in and out of the Poole defence, eventually getting himself into a shooting position 1-on-1 with the keeper. He then appeared to be tripped by the last defender, however referee Lee Brennan gave the decision the hosts’ way, and proceeded to book the City midfielder for simulation.
City proceeded to make a double substitution following this: Frankie Musonda and Mamadou Fofana were replaced by Zac McEachran and Godfrey Poku, however the Hoops found themselves behind just moments later, on 64 minutes. Constable was played through down the left-hand side of the box, before smashing the ball past King to give his side the lead.
The 77th minute saw City make their third and final sub: Kavan Cotter coming off for Jack Tutton. The substitute quickly became the second player in the book as he was penalised for a foul on the edge of Poole’s box.
The hosts put the game beyond doubt in the 83rd minute. The ball fell to Devlin around 35 yards from goal and, seeing King off his line, he smashed the ball spectacularly over the City stopper’s head and into the net.
This turned out to be in vain for the hosts as Hungerford Town clung on to claim a 1-0 victory at East Thurrock United, which was enough to condemn Poole to relegation to the Southern League next season.
City finish the league campaign in 16th position on 49 points, seven points clear of the drop zone. Their season isn’t quite over yet, however, as they play their Oxfordshire Senior Cup final on Wednesday evening against Kidlington, a 19:45 kick-off at Thame United.
Oxford City: King, Jones, Stevens, Fofana (Poku 63), Musonda (McEachran 63), Oastler, Cotter (Tutton 77), Fleet, Paterson, Sinclair, Grant.