Report - Oxford City 1-2 Woking
By Oxford City FC
Bradbury Provides Cruel Blow for City
Harvey Bradbury’s stoppage-time winner denied Oxford City a hard-earned point, as title chasing Woking came from a goal down to triumph 2-1 at Marsh Lane on Tuesday evening.
Kabby Tshimanga’s early penalty – his 30th goal of the season in all competitions - was cancelled out by two Oxford United loanees; Armani Little equalising with a first half free-kick, before Bradbury’s half volley with the last meaningful touch of the game saw the Hoops leave empty handed.
Mark Jones opted to make three changes to his starting line-up from Saturday’s defeat to Hampton & Richmond. Craig King returned in goal following his suspension, while Reece Fleet and Ryan Case came in for Owen James and Joel Dielna respectively.
Case was to form part of a defensive four that protected goalkeeper King, he formed a full-back partnership along with Eddie Jones, while Joe Oastler and Tarik Moore-Azille were the centre-back pairing. Further up the pitch, Fleet returned to a midfield that also contained Kyran Wiltshire, Josh Ashby and Jack Self, all complimenting a forward pairing of Brandon Thomas-Asante and Kabongo Tshimanga.
That was the plan at least – however Moore-Azille had got stuck in an M25 closure and therefore was running late. Dielna was then restored to the lineup in his place, he went to left-back with Case at centre-back, Moore-Azille taking up a place on the bench once he arrived.
And it was City’s new centre-back that was colossal in the first key moment of the match. A free-kick in City’s half was hit long by Case and it found Tshimanga. The frontman took a touch past Craig Ross, however he was then wiped out by the stopper, referee Daniel Lamport left with little option other than to point to the spot.
Tshimanga stepped up to take the spot kick himself, waiting for Ross to commit before placing the ball in the opposite corner to register his 19th league goal, and 30th overall goal of the season.
The visitors looked for a quick response and just 7 minutes later called King into action. A shot from outside the box took a heavy deflection off a City man, however the stopper adjusted well to get across and catch the ball.
However the leveller came just before the half-hour mark. A free-kick was given away on the edge of the box by Fleet, before Little stepped up and found the top corner with his effort, leaving King stranded.
Fleet the best remaining chance of the half, he was found unmarked about 30 yards from goal, he took a touch forwards before getting a shot away. It was good and powerful, however it drifted wide of Ross’ goal.
Going in level at the break was probably a fair reflection at the break with chances created, however with Woking fighting for top spot, and the Hoops looking for that guarantee of keeping clear of the drop zone, it was to be certain that both sides would look to try and force a result out of the match.
In truth, it was the visitors that came out strongly in the second period, a couple of early corners causing the City defence problems, however King was eventually able to gather the ball to release the pressure.
The Hoops were able to push up the field and were able to force a chance on 54 minutes. A mix-up between Ross and one of his defenders saw a poor clearance picked up by Ashby with the keeper off his line. The midfielder tried to lob him from 30 yards, however he was able to get a good connection on the effort.
Woking then responded four minutes later as a low shot was well smothered by King low down to his left.
Mark Jones opted to make his first change on the hour mark as former Cardinal Bobson Bawling came on to replace Kyran Wiltshire, who had moments before had his name entered into the referee’s book.
And it was Bawling who nearly forced a second for the Hoops. The substitute did superbly to close down and win a tight ball on the edge of the box. He was able to play a one-two with Tshimanga, which allowed Bawling to square to Ashby just inside the box. The midfielder’s shot beat Ross, however, thankfully for the Woking custodian, there was a covering defender who was able to hack away just in front of the line.
This was followed by City’s second substitution, Tarik Moore-Azille came on to replace Joel Dielna, a move that effectively reversed the change made just before kick-off!
With just four minutes left on the clock, City carved out the best chance of the half. Tshimanga received the ball in a wide right position, despite looking isolated, he was able to deliver a pin-point pass into Brandon Thomas-Asante who had wriggled clear on the penalty spot. The striker however managed to get under the ball, his volley sailing well over the bar.
However, an excellent result for City was taken away from them in the cruellest possible way. In the sixth of four added minutes, a cleared ball was delivered back in, a header was controlled by Bradbury who was able to smash past a helpless King on the half volley to send the visiting support into raptures behind the goal.
This was a devastating blow for the Hoops who were moments away from earning a hard-earned point in a much-improved performance from Saturday. There was no time for City to even force a quick break with referee Lamport blowing the final whistle within moments of the restart.
City don’t have to wait long to get back into action and try and go one better as they return to National League South action on Saturday afternoon with a trip around the M25 to East Thurrock United, 3pm kick-off at Rookery Hill.
Oxford City: King, Jones, Dielna (Moore-Azille 76), Ashby, Case, Oastler, Wiltshire (Bawling 61), Fleet (Hopkins 85), Tshimanga, Thomas-Asante, Self.
Unused: Caro, James.