Oxford City welcomed Sutton Coldfield on a dry if windy day to Court Place Farm. The last time that the teams met was the first game of the season when Sutton triumphed 7-1. Could City redeem themselves?
Oxford set up with a 4-5-1 formation perhaps conscious of the earlier meeting and to create some stability? However, only a couple of minutes had passed before the first goal was scored. The Sutton keeper, Callum Hayward, rolled the ball out to Joseph Maquire on the edge of the box who was immediately put under pressure by two City players. It was Harley Firkin’s tackle that won him the ball before proceeding to calmly chip the keeper to put City ahead
Not to be outdone by an early goal, Sutton responded almost immediately with a goal from Adam Bourn whose direct run eluded a number of City defenders before slotting the ball home.
A City corner found Alex MacBryan whose low shot from just outside the box was cleared by a Sutton defender on the corner post. The score remained 1 all at the end of Q1.
Q2 saw both sides striving to break the deadlock. City conceded a free kick and a great curling shot from Joel Powney easily cleared the City wall leaving Ben Owen, the City keeper, with no chance and giving Sutton a 2-1 lead. You'd struggle to see a better free kick on MOTD on Saturday night.
City kept up the pressure in an effort to equalise. They were rewarded when Ben Stewart’s second of two great quality corners in succession was headed into the Sutton net by Archie Littlewood.
A nice move approaching the end of Q2 saw Alex MacBryan lace a ball through to Harley Firkin but the Sutton keeper did really well to save the close range shot.
All square half way through the match with both teams having good spells of pressure.
City made some substitutions and it wasn’t long before Will Jeffrey made his mark. Noah Alabi, who was a constant threat throughout collected the ball in the Sutton box and his trademark dribbling got him to the touchline before his crisp pull back was converted by Will.
No more goals in Q3 and so City went into the last quarter 3-2 up.
Despite being Q4, the game continued to be played at a fast pace with both sides eager to attack. At times. Sutton had four or five players up front.
A well-crafted move involving a number of City players finally came to Alex MacBryanin just outside the box on the right and his bullet of a shot left the Sutton keeper glued to the spot
With Sutton 4-2 down and time fast running out they refused to give up and a free kick sailed just wide of the City goal.
But it was to be City’s day. Ben Stewart beat a couple of players on the left hand side before his pass found Alex MacBryan who repeated his earlier effort with yet another pile-driver to put the game beyond Sutton’s reach.
An unexpected result but well deserved and a fine advert for the quality of the JPL for the whole 80 minutes. Fast paced, competitive and played in a good spirit.