Oxford City 2
(McEachran 28, Jackson 62)
(Newton 25, 37)
Oxford City twice came from behind to claim a draw at home to Leamington in Skrill North, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.
Goals in each half from teenagers Zac McEachran and Kayden Jackson levelled for City after the visitors had twice led thanks to a Danny Newton brace.
But any designs on snatching a winner were put on hold after an injury to goalkeeper Mark Scott ten minutes from time forced City to field full-back Declan Benjamin between the sticks.
City, who gave a debut for new signing Mark Preece from Bath City, made a lively start, but failed to create any openings as Leamington forced their way into the game with Joe Magunda’s powerful header drawing an excellent reaction save from Scott.
That should have served as a lesson for City.
But moments later Newton found himself unmarked in the box to head the visitors in front from an almost identical position.
City’s response was swift and three minutes later the sides were level, McEachran netting from the edge of the area after Leamington had failed to clear a dangerous ball across the box from Tom Winters.
The momentum had swung back towards the hosts, but again they were unable to convert their positive play into clear-cut chances.
Instead it was the visitors who seized the initiative, retaking the lead after another defensive lapse.
Newton was given time and space to run at his man, bursting through a sluggish backline before driving the ball past an exposed Scott.
City always looked likely to find another equaliser after the break, but it took a moment of quality from Michael Pook to create the opening.
His outstanding through ball from just inside the Leamington half put Winters through on goal.
And when his effort was cleared off the line after he rounded the keeper, Jackson was on hand to fire in from close range.
Jackson and Mike Symons both had chances to put City in front, but any hopes of a winner were shelved 15 minutes from time when Scott was stretchered off with a back injury.
Benjamin was forced to deputise in goal in the absence of a substitute keeper, but had little to do as City saw out the remainder of the match with no further incident.
Oxford City: Scott (Benjamin 80), Ballard (Willmott 65), Stonehouse, Pook, Henderson, Preece, McEachran (Janes 75), Pond, Symons, Jackson, Winters. Subs not used: McNish, Learoyd.
Referee: M Amphlett.