Report - Chippenham Town 0-1 Oxford City
By Oxford City FC
March brings joy for City
A new month brought around a change of fortune for Oxford City as their first match in March ended in their first victory of 2019, running out 1-0 winners away at Chippenham Town in the National League South.
Kabby Tshimanga’s goal just six minutes into the second period turned out to be the only goal of the game, enough to see the Hoops register their first win since beating Wealdstone at Grosvenor Vale on 28th December.
Mark Jones kept faith in the side that lost a two-goal lead at home to Billericay Town a week ago, making just one enforced change to the line-up. Craig King’s red card following the final whistle last weekend saw him start the first of a two-match ban, Steven Caro coming in to make only his second start for the club.
He was protected by a back four that included full-backs Eddie Jones and Joel Dielna, while captain Joe Oastler and Tarik Moore-Azille were the central defenders. Heading into midfield, Josh Ashby and Jack Self occupied the central positions while Kyran Wiltshire was housed on the right wing, with Bobson Bawling on the left. Top-scorer Kabongo Tshimanga played just off of Brandon Thomas-Asante as a forward pairing.
New loan signings Owen James and Alfie Hopkins started their City careers on the bench.
It was to be the hosts who were to have the first chance of the match inside the opening couple of minutes. Dielna gave the ball away in his own half allowing Nick McCootie to power into the box, Caro was out quickly though and made a good save as the striker tried to slot under him.
However, there was even better goalkeeping on show just four minutes after. Tshimanga picked up the ball in midfield, cut onto his right foot where he had space for a shot just outside the box. He struck it sweetly and, with the ball looking destined for the top corner, former City loanee Will Puddy brilliantly got up to his left to push over the bar.
With just a quarter of an hour on the clock, Chippenham were given a golden opportunity to break the deadlock. Nat Jarvis beat Moore-Azille as he burst into the box, the City defender pulling his man down as he just crossed the 18-yard line, leaving referee Elliott Swallow with no other choice than to point to the spot.
Jarvis stepped up to take the kick and his powerful effort was enough to beat Caro, despite guessing the right way, however the City stopper was relieved to see the effort cannon off the post and away to safety.
Both teams seemed to be unsettled following this spot kick, neither side really creating anything. McCootie’s header wide from a corner on 26 minutes was the best either side could manage.
This changed with just a couple of minutes remaining in the first period and the hosts pushing to take in a half-time lead. First of all, City had Eddie Jones to thank after Jarvis broke clear, the full-back with a fantastic last-ditch tackle to deny what would have been a clear shot on goal.
The resulting corner struck the post as Rhys Davies’ in swinging delivery went through everyone, and not quite into the far corner.
That brought to an end a half that both sides would have been pleased with: both keepers tested but, most importantly of all to both managers, neither side were behind.
And City’s boss will certainly have enjoyed the start to the second period. His side came out all guns blaring, causing problems to the Chippenham defence and forcing a series of corners.
It was the second of these that turned out to be the one game changing moment of the match. Ashby swung a delivery out towards the penalty spot, finding the head of Oastler, who powerfully headed towards goal. With Puddy about to retrieve the ball, Tshimanga appeared to put a final touch on the ball which sent it past the stopper and into the roof of the net.
The lead perhaps should have been doubled six minutes later, again from an Ashby corner which this time found an unmarked Moore-Azille in the centre who got a great connection with his header, however it drifted just wide of the far post.
Mark Jones clearly thought the best way to deal with a one goal lead was to try and double it, therefore introducing his two new Oxford United loanees - Owen James and Alfie Hopkins - in place of Bobson Bawling and Brandon Thomas-Asante. Both looked bright immediately, James managing to beat a number of challenges before delivering a dangerous ball in, which was then blocked for a corner.
In between the substitutions, Caro produced his finest save of the match. After a succession of corners, the ball fell to Josh Smile in a wide position. His shot looked to be dipping under the crossbar, however the ‘keeper got up to superbly tip over the bar.
The City stopper was caught in a mix-up with five minutes to go. With Eddie Jones heading back towards his own goal, Caro came out to meet his right-back, however Jones saw this and was able to re-adjust from a potential back-pass to go wide and clear the danger.
With five added minutes signalled, the Hoops had a chance to put the result beyond doubt. Tshimanga linked up and played through James who was able to bear down on goal, however the ball may have bobbled as his left footed shot cleared the crossbar.
However, this wasn’t to be costly with the Hoops seeing the remaining time out, registering their first win in nine league games, and Caro his first clean sheet in City colours.
The Hoops are back in action on Tuesday night in Oxfordshire Senior Cup action, Oxford United visiting Marsh Lane for a 19:45 kick-off.
Oxford City: Caro, Jones, Dielna, Ashby, Moore-Azille, Oastler, Wiltshire, Self, Tshimanga, Thomas-Asante (Hopkins 66), Bawling (James 57).
Not Used: Case, Barrett, O’Donoghue.