After a late pitch inspection at Marsh Lane County’s game against bottom of the table Oxford City went ahead as planned although Alan Lord's men may have wished that the rain had scuppered the game given the disappointing outcome despite going ahead once again.
This occurred after only 38seconds when good work from Kristian Dennis led to confusion in the Oxford defence and his cross ricocheted in off a City defender. However, this positive start didn't lead to the expected momentum and Oxford ground down the Hatters, capitalising on a host of late chances to eventually run out 4-1 winners.
The highlight of County's day arrived in the first minute when on only 38 seconds a low Kristian Dennis cross from the left of the box hit City defender Paul Stonehouse with French keeper Victor Francoz not reacting quick enough to allow the ball to escape into the back of the net.
The home side lifted themselves following this early setback and Oxford enjoyed most of the chances before they got a well-deserved equaliser on the 14th minute with Tom Winters finding space in the box following a corner to fire a deflected shot which beat Ryan Jones after County were unable to clear the danger.
County went close on the 18th minute when a Danny Gosset free-kick from 30 yards out found Dennis who headed it wide. 2 minutes later another free kick, this time taken by Duxbury, found James Tunnicliffe in the box who managed to head powerfully for the top corner but this was tipped over superbly. Soon after another chance came for County as Dennis put a dangerous cross into the box but the flowing Gosset couldn’t get enough on the ball to do any damage.
The game became very even for the last few minutes of the first half with both teams creating chances but not being able to capitalise on them. The best chance for City came on the 27th minute when Declan Benjamin put a great cross into the box after a good run down the right from the full back. This failed to find any of the Oxford players in the County box. At the other end a 30 yard volley from Phil Jevons went agonisingly close for County but a good save denied his excellent strike. County fans were still optimistic that this could be their day as the half time whistle arrived with the score 1-1.
A sluggish second half burst into life on the 53rd minute when Mike Symons ran onto a ball in the inside right channel and produced an outstanding finish as he chipped the ball over Jones into the back of the net to break the deadlock. County were to never recover and on the 57th minute Hatter's captain Keiran Charnock was sent off having adjudged to have been the last man when he tried to recover a poor touch.
Wembley hero Liam Dickinson came on for Gosset on the 64th minute much to the delight of the County following but his presence on the pitch wasn’t enough to halt the tide of pressure now being exerted by Oxford. Confusion in the heart of the defence allowed home Captain Darren Pond to head in the third unopposed from a cross.
On the 85th minute Oxford put the game to bed against County’s 10 men when substitute Kayden Jackson skipped around the Jones to slam in the fourth and consign manager Alan Lord to only his third defeat as County manager in the league.
Written by Sam Thompson