Oxford City were unable to hold off neighbours Oxford United in Tuesday night's opening pre-season fixture, the U’s ending on the right side of a 5-3 scoreline at Marsh Lane.
City, who had twice led by two clear goals, ultimately succumbed to four goals in 15 minutes as a strong United side eventually proved too good for the Hoops to hold off.
A lightning start paid off for City as Stefan Brown took only three minutes to register his first goal in Blue and White Hoops, however it was an ex-United player who made the goal. A free-kick right in the corner was taken quickly by Josh Ashby, his pinpoint cross finding Brown who had the simple task of placing his header past Jack Stevens.
United controlled possession for a long period following this but had to wait until the 39th minute before really testing Steven Caro in the City goal. James Henry found himself bearing down on the City goal, however the stopper came out quickly and was able to get himself in the way of the shot, before Gedeon Otiko blocked the resulting shot for a corner.
This escape set the tone for the Hoops who were able to go up the other end and double their lead. Kyran Wiltshire was able to turn his man on the corner of the box, running towards the by-line before putting in a perfect cross to the edge of the six-yard box where Jack Self was waiting to head past Stevens.
The deficit was halved almost immediately, however, as Henry went one better than before on the stroke of half time - his shot from a wide angle nestling in the bottom corner.
But it was to be another of Mark Jones’ new faces who was to find his name on the scoresheet next. He couldn't quite match Brown’s feat of scoring inside three minutes of his debut but, six minutes after coming on as a substitute, Daniel Rowe restored the Hoops’ two goal cushion.
Breaking with Craig Fasanmade in support, the winger take on the shot himself after having cut onto his right foot: his powerful effort from outside the box accurate enough to beat the outstretched Stevens and find the corner of the net.
That was to be the best it got for the Hoops on the night, as United’s greater experience and strength eventually came out on top of a tiring City side.
The first of four unanswered goals came in the 62nd minute through Tarique Fosu. The forward was fouled on the edge of the box, stepped up himself, and was able to find the roof of the net past Caro in the City goal.
Five minutes later and the equaliser came from another dead-ball situation. Unfortunately for City, this time it was from the penalty spot after Joe Oastler bundled Malachi Napa over just inside the box. Gavin Whyte made no mistake as he sent Caro the wrong way.
A further five minutes later and the U’s took the lead for the first time when Kyran Lofthouse picked up the ball at the far post and was able to volley home.
The scoring was complete with 13 minutes to play: Napa this time finding himself on the scoresheet as he was able to turn superbly in the box and smash home to all but confirm the result.
It was an encouraging performance nonetheless from the Hoops against a Football League side, and Manager Mark Jones will see plenty of positives from his side’s first outing.
Next up for the Hoops is a trip across to the ASM Stadium to face Thame United next Tuesday evening, a 19:45 kick-off.
Oxford City: Caro, Jones, Okito, Ashby, Tapp, Oastler (c), Wiltshire, Fleet, Brown, Owusu, Self.
Substitutes (used): Rowe, Stanley, Fasanmade, Wright, Emmanuel, Newman, Collins, Strong, Harrison-Cushing.