The big question for Oxford City before the match was whether they could improve on their performance against FGR of less than a month ago when they lost 6-2.
A goal by FGR within the first couple of minutes after a good, fast build-up scored by Oscar Gomez seemed to suggest the contrary.
However, City didn’t let this early goal unsettle them and managed to create a couple of chances for Twariq Yusuf, with Maro Ramadan also getting in on the act. City keeper Hamish Hall made a couple of fine saves, firstly from a very well struck shot by Rhys Sarson from just outside the area and later when a FGR attempt was pulled wide of the goal after the keeper did well to narrow the angle.
The first quarter ended with FGR 1-0 up, shortly after the restart Abu Yillah was initially beaten by Sarson but recovered well to make an important tackle. FGR kept up the pressure in the second quarter with their Sarson looking increasingly dangerous and the midfield including Adam Day and Ralph Graham keeping their attacking moves driving forwards.
City conceded a couple of corners in swift succession but nothing came of them and were then unlucky not to equalise when a low ball into the box was pounced on but hit the post.
A rare misplaced goal kick by FGR keeper James Holder was cut off by Ben Stewart but again City were denied by a great save by Holder who dived and tipped the ball round the post.
The third quarter was fairly equal with chances at both ends. City’s Tom Rolfe put in a good cross to Larrson Wirdnam-Crick in plenty of space but his strike again hit the post and rebounded to safety for FGR.
City’s midfield, particularly Isaac Shenton, Harley Firkin, Naseer El-Hosny and Wirdnam-Crick, were all strong and Tom Griffiths, who defended consistently throughout the match, made an important tackle on Adam Day, one of their most skilful players, when clean through FGR piled on the pressure in the last quarter and it paid off when Sarson switched the ball and the resulting cross was chested into the City net by Henry Whalley.
Shortly after, Jack Dark of City cleared a ball off the line. Archie Littlewood and Abu Yillah were kept very busy but both made some strong interventions to prevent FGR adding to their tally. End-to-end play saw Jonah Clarke for City and Sarson once again for FGR both stopped in their tracks by strong tackles.
Matt Simms made a good save to deny FGR putting the game to bed before a great run from Jonah Clarke from the halfway line to the goal line, pulling the ball back and Will Jeffery made no mistake in putting the ball past the keeper which was well deserved
Unfortunately seconds later the referee blew his whistle to signal full time on a well-contested and hard, but fair, fought match by both sides.