Report - Gloucester City 1-0 Oxford City
By Oxford City FC
First Trip Bring First Defeat
Oxford City fell to their first defeat of the 2018/19 campaign on Tuesday evening as Gloucester City ran out 1-0 winners in an entertaining match at the Jubilee Stadium in Evesham.
The 312 in attendance will probably be left wondering how the game only yielded a single goal; some excellent goalkeeping teamed with a bit of wayward shooting preventing both teams on multiple occasions throughout the match.
Mark Jones made two changes to the side that drew with Eastbourne on Saturday – Kabongo Tshimanga and Ben Jefford both coming into the starting XI in place of Kyran Wiltshire and Josh Ashby.
It was the hosts that looked more dangerous in the early exchanges, however it took 10 minutes for the first real save of the match. A free-kick in a wide position was struck by Joe Hanks and looked to be dipping just under the crossbar, however it was too central and Craig King was on hand to tip over the bar.
Tshimanga kept the Gloucester defence on their toes throughout the first half and he had a penalty appeal waved away in the 15th minute as he hit the deck under a challenge, the referee deeming it to have been fair.
Two minutes later and the Hoops had Luke Ruddick to thank for keeping the score goalless. Hanks managed to steal the ball just ahead of Jefford and charged into the box. Just as he got his shot away the sliding Ruddick came across to deflect the effort behind for a corner, preventing what was likely to be a certain goal.
It took until the 29th minute before City were able to test Matt Yates in the Tigers’ goal, and perhaps unsurprisingly the effort came from last season’s top scorer, Matt Paterson. The striker was fed the ball outside the box, cutting it onto his right foot before shooting. His effort was creeping just inside the right-hand post, however Yates got across superbly to tip onto the woodwork and behind for a corner.
City were almost able to make the corner count. Yates was able to save a header at goal, however from the rebound, Spencer Hamilton was fortunate not to put into his own net, his powerful clearance behind passing the left-hand post by a matter of millimetres.
The chances were coming thick and fast at this point in the match. The 34th minute saw both no.9’s with chances at either end. Paterson was up first as Eddie Jones fed him from the right, however the striker was unable to get power behind his shot and ended up an easy save for Yates. Up the other end and Jake Jackson found himself in a wide shooting position, however his placed shot was too close to King who was able to save easily.
With the first half having turned into a very end-to-end affair, it was unsurprising that City were to go immediately up the other end and have another attempt through Paterson. This time in a wide-position, he tried to catch the Gloucester ‘keeper out with a looping effort, however Yates was able to tip the effort over the bar.
Half time was a good opportunity for both managers to get their sides in and re-evaluate game plans, considering the very open nature of the first period.
In a role reversal of the first half, it was City that were the most threatening in the opening exchanges of the second. A flurry of corners inside the opening five minutes saw the Hoops keep up the pressure on their hosts, however were unable to breach a sea of bodies that formed and eventually came to nothing.
Gloucester ensured that City weren’t to have it all their own way and had two excellent chances within a minute of each other on the 53 minute mark. The first fell to Hanks as the ball was cleared to him from a corner, the midfielder taking a touch before powerfully driving from just outside the box, however King was grateful to see it drift wide of the post.
The hosts got closer and closer and had the crossbar rattling 60 seconds later. Knowles earned possession just inside the box, his shot on his left foot looking destined for the roof of the net, however King magnificently saved to push it onto the crossbar.
The killer blow came seven minutes later. Joe Parker, who had come on as a sub less than a minute before, managed to keep the ball in on the by-line before pulling the ball back to Jackson, whose swept shot into the bottom corner was helped past King with a slight deflection.
City struggled to get a foot hold in the game following this in an attempt to try and get back on level terms. Mark Jones did change his side around with 15 minutes to go with Josh Ashby and Kyran Wiltshire coming on for Reece Fleet and Ben Jefford.
The Hoops did manage to get in behind the Tigers defence with ten minutes to go. A lofted pass found Rob Sinclair just in front of the keeper, however the midfielder was unable to deflect the ball past Yates and see his side level.
In one last throw of the dice, Abraham Eze came on in place of Udoka Godwin-Malife, who had earlier required lengthy treatment, for the final five minutes.
City did manage to create one final chance right at the end of the final of the five added minutes. With numbers surging forwards, Josh Ashby saw an opportunity to shoot with a bit of space in midfield. His effort was well struck and heading towards the bottom corner of the net, however Yates was able to get across and gratefully clutch onto the ball.
The long up-field punt by the Gloucester stopper was greeted by the final whistle, marking the end of another frustrating 90 minutes in front of goal for City, who are yet to register their first strike of the season.
They return to action on Saturday afternoon as they make another relatively short trip to Woking, 3pm kick-off at Kingfield.
Oxford City: King, Jones, Godwin-Malife (Eze 85), Sinclair, Ruddick, Oastler, McEachran, Fleet (Ashby 75), Paterson, Tshimanga, Jefford (Wiltshire 75).
Unused: Fasanmade, Krasniqi.