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Oxford City 1st Team - Match centre

adidas lockerroom
Hampton & Richmond Borough
Oxford City
Sat 3 Nov 15:00 - The Vanarama National League - Vanarama National League South Full time Attendance 471

Report - Hampton & Richmond Borough 2-4 Oxford City

Oxford City recorded a vital win in the run-up to their Emirates FA Cup First Round tie, battling hard for a 4-2 victory against Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Oxford City recorded a vital win in the run-up to their Emirates FA Cup First Round tie, battling hard for a 4-2 victory against Hampton & Richmond Borough.

First half goals from Zac McEachran, Kabby Tshimanga and Joe Oastler, plus Kyran Wiltshire's second half effort, were more than enough to dispatch the Beavers who struggled to assert themselves for large periods of the game.

Coming into the game, the Hoops were yet to take three points from an away game this season and were rocked by the departures of assistant manager Joe Deeney and star midfielder Rob Sinclair. Mark Jones responded by recalling former manager Justin Merritt to the dugout, standing in as assistant, and deploying Wiltshire in his preferred position on the right wing. The rest of the manager's selection threw up few surprises: Craig King took up his position in goal behind centre halves Frankie Musonda and Joe Oastler. Udoka Godwin-Malife lined up at right back with Ben Jefford his opposite number on the left, whilst Josh Ashby and Reece Fleet marshalled the centre of midfield. Sam Nombe took to the left wing whilst McEachran moved into a more central attacking role, with striker Kabby Tshimanga rounding out the side up front.

In their previous outing, City had paid the price for not converting a dominant first half into a much needed goal. Today, however, the deadlock lasted only three minutes. Settling into their typical passing game quickly, sustained pressure down the left gave McEachran the opportunity to cut inside and unleash a powerful effort which easily beat a potentially sun-blinded Tom Lovelock at his near post.

Buoyed by the rare early goal, the Hoops piled on the pressure in search of a second. They were almost rewarded in the 10th minute when Tshimanga raced onto a long ball down the right channel and shot early, forcing the first of many smart saves from Lovelock as he got down quickly to push the effort around the post.

The lively forward was sent clear of the defence again in the 22nd minute. Fleet's tireless efforts in midfield were rewarded when he won possession just past the half way line, the ball into Tshimanga's path resulting in Yado Mambo scything his man down on the very edge of the area. The defender was perhaps a touch relieved to escape with no more than a booking, and Ashby's effort from the set piece passed narrowly wide of the far post.

Despite finding themselves on the back foot for most of the half, the Beavers came agonisingly close to a 24th minute equaliser. Chris Dickson's cross from the left wing picked out Daniel Uchechi with time and space in the box, only for the midfielder to blaze his effort both high and wide of King's goal.

City didn't allow that letoff to go to waste and doubled their lead just after the half hour mark. The move almost began and ended with Nombe – the youngster playing the ball inside from the left wing and tracking right the way across to the other side of the pitch to regain possession, beat his man, and deliver a pinpoint pass onto the right boot of Tshimanga for an easy tap in.

Nombe's assist even seemed to inspire Godwin-Maliffe to venture forwards from right back, the defender coming mightily close to making it 3-0 as he worked his way into the box only to be dispossessed right as he seemed set to pull the trigger.

Ancient wisdom tells us that 2-0 is the most dangerous lead, and the Hoops certainly began to love dangerously as the half drew to a close. They were particularly lucky to escape when a tremendous mixup between Oastler and King saw neither player clear a loose ball on the edge of their own area.

Fortunately for the visitors, first half stoppage time yielded one final moment of magic. It was once again Nombe whose direct, attacking play caused havoc in the Borough defence – his driving run from his own half ending with a fizzing long shot which Lovelock put behind for a corner. McEachran's delivery was met sweetly by the head of Oastler, the captain rising highest to power the ball back across goal and into the side netting to give his side a commanding 3-0 lead.

Going into the break, City fans may have been forgiven to wondering whether their side were about to avenge their 5-0 home defeat in the 2016/17 season. The reality, however, was that the second period would not be as one-sided as the first.

Mark Jones made one change at half time, Eddie Jones replacing Ben Jefford, whilst Hampton manager Gary McCann made his second and third substitutions in a desperate bid to turn his side's fortunes around.

McEachran almost kicked the second half off in style with an effort from range which flashed narrowly wide, but was utterly outshone in the 54th minute when the hosts got back into the game in spectacular style – Jack Connors unleashing an exceptional effort from range which glided inexorably into the back of the net.

The Hoops looked to provide an immediate response: McEachran forcing another save from Lovelock with a curling effort from range before Tshimanga spurned an excellent opportunity when once again clean through on goal.

Mark Jones made his second change in the 75th minute, responding to a visible swing in momentum away from his side by introducing Bobson Bawling in place of Kabby Tshimanga.

The change added a new element to City's attacking play and, whilst they were forced to weather a number of attacks from the hosts, they began to carve out good opportunities on the break. One such move with 10 minutes remaining saw Nombe set free, forcing a corner which Oastler once again met well only to see his header cleared off of the line. Fleet took control of the loose ball, showing great composure in waiting to pick out his shot, only to be denied by yet another wonderful save from a 'keeper who was quickly staking a claim on his side's Man of the Match award.

Fortunately for the visitors, they went one better just four minutes later. Nombe was oncemore instrumental in the goal, popping up on the right for the second time to dance his way to the byline and pick out the unmarked Wiltshire whose finish was emphatic.

Mark Jones followed the goal with his final change – Nombe receiving the ovation he deserved as he was replaced by Craig Fassanmade.

It should have been no surprise that the action, and indeed the goalscoring, was by no means over. The Beavers continued to press forwards and were rewarded for their tenacity as a goalmouth scramble resulted in Connors securing his second goal, this time from significantly closer range.

The Hoops almost even found time to re-establish their three goal lead: McEachran denied by a tight offside decision before Bawling failed to find a way past Lovelock.

Victory means that the Hoops will carry richly-deserved confidence into their FA Cup tie against Tranmere. Tickets and travel for next weekend's game are still available for purchase, with details available at the following http://www.oxfordcityfc.co.uk/news/fa-cup-tranmere-rovers-vs-oxford-city-2361480.html

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