Oxford City (0)1 Bath City (1)1

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Oxford City (0)1 Bath City (1)1

Post by Kelston Koppite on Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:18 pm

Oxford City and Bath City shared the points in a tepid encounter at a cold and damp Marsh Lane. The visitors took the lead through Ross Stearn in first half stoppage only to be pegged back after the break by a Matt Paterson penalty kick.

The home side adapted more quickly of the two sides to the slippery underfoot conditions provided by the artificial surface, with the Somerset team struggling to stay on their feet at times. However, Oxford failed to create any early openings and it was not until the 16th minute that they produced their first attempt at goal. Dave Pearce found space on the left, but his angled shot was deflected harmlessly over Luke Southwood's crossbar off a teammate's back.

Bath began to find some passing rhythm and Stearn tried his luck from 25 yards, but his effort was high and wide of Craig King's goal. Despite this scare, Oxford continued to enjoy the upper hand in terms of possession and Zac McEachran's low cross from the right flew across the face of Southwood's 6-yard box without a telling touch being applied.

Joe Oastler headed over the bar on 35 minutes, before The Romans embarked on their best spell of the game. A slick passing move saw Tom Smith slip the ball through to Stearn, whose angled shot was just wide of King's far post. Jack Compton's free kick from 25 yards then appeared to be blocked by an outstretched arm in the defensive wall, but the referee, Mr. Marc Whaley, waved away the fervent penalty protests.

Bath were not to be denied and took the lead two minutes into added time. Miles Welch-Hayes delivered a long throw into the Oxford box which was won in the air by Nat Jarvis. The loose ball fell to Stearn, who drilled his shot into the net through a throng of defenders.

The second half commenced with The Hoops again taking control of possession, but the visitors looked to catch them on the break. In the 51st minute Jarvis slipped the ball through to Stearn, whose first shot was blocked, with the second deflected behind for a corner. Five minutes later, Welch-Hayes swept in a low cross which King, under pressure from Jarvis, spilled against his near post. The ensuing goalmouth scramble was truncated by Mr. Whaley's whistle, who penalised the City forward for an infringement.

Oxford, whilst pushing their opponents back deeper and deeper into their own half, were unable to seriously test Southwood, whose main contribution was to safely gather crosses into his box.

At the other end, Stearn found himself with a clear sight of goal on 65 minutes, but blazed over the bar with just King to beat. His blushes, however, were spared by an offside flag.

The hosts had an excellent chance to restore parity after 72 minutes when substitute Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain raced down the right flank before squaring the ball to Paterson, who lifted his shot over the crossbar from a good position. This reprieve for the away side lasted only three minutes, as Rob Sinclair went down on the edge of their box, and Mr. Whaley pointed to the penalty spot. Paterson duly sent Southwood the wrong way from 12 yards to bring the scores level.

Bath tried to respond immediately, with Welch-Hayes striking a long range shot that was wide of the target. It was Oxford, though, who now looked the more likely of the sides to find a late winner, and Paterson skewed an effort wide of Southwood's post from inside the Bath area.

King comfortably held a rising shot from Stearn following a Compton free kick from the left, and another Stearn shot from distance was dragged well wide.

Southwood made his only meaningful save of the game in the 89th minute when he dived to his right to expertly hold a low Freddie Grant drive at the foot of his near post, and the final action of the match saw James Morton's drive from 25 yards pass well wide of King's goal.

This game could never be described as a classic, with both sides carelessly losing possession on a regular basis. This could, to a certain degree, be attributed to the wet underfoot conditions, but flowing football was at a premium throughout, not helped at times by some over-fussy refereeing . Whilst the home side looked the more comfortable on the ball and had the greater share of possession, The Romans created the better chances in front of goal, and a draw was probably the rightful outcome. Jerry Gill's men will need to quickly recharge their batteries in readiness for Tuesday evening when they make to short trip to Weston-super-Mare for the rescheduled Somerset Derby (weather providing!).


Oxford City: Craig King, Eddie Jones, Freddie Grant, Godfrey Poku, Connor Stevens, Joe Oastler, Zac McEachran, Mamadou Fofana, Matt Paterson, Rob Sinclair, Dave Pearce. Subs; Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cristian Navarro, Ezra Forde, Matt Peake-Pijnen, Sami Khawaja.

Bath City: Luke Southwood, Miles Welch-Hayes, Jack Batten, Dan Ball, Anthony Straker, Frankie Artus (Matt Richards 88), James Morton, Ross Stearn, Tim Smith, Jack Compton, Nat Jarvis. Subs (not used); Ryan Case, George Rigg, Oaklan Buck, Kieran Hodges.

Referee: Mr. Marc Whaley

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Kelston Koppite

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