FOOTBALL: Ballard nicks a point for City

Oxford Mail: Oxford City's new signing Ashan Holegate wins a header during Saturday's 2-2 draw Oxford City's new signing Ashan Holegate wins a header during Saturday's 2-2 draw

Substitute Andy Ballard scored a late equaliser as Oxford City battled back for a 2-2 draw against struggling Droylsden at Court Place Farm in Blue Square Bet North on Saturday.

A flurry of late goals added some gloss to an otherwise poor spectacle as City’s winless run stretched to six league games. After taking a 71st-minute lead through Adam Learoyd, City found themselves behind with ten minutes to go, thanks to quickfire strikes from Andy Palmer and Nat Kerr.

But three minutes from time, Ballard took advantage of some hesitant goalkeeping to grab City a scarcely deserved point.

With new signing Ashan Holgate making his debut up front, City looked disjointed and struggled to maintain possession, a wayward cross from Jack Mills the closest they came to threatening the Droylsden goal in a scrappy first half.

The better chances fell to the visitors, with James Ellison shooting straight at Matt Ingram in the City goal and Steve Hall firing over the bar.

Manager Mike Ford made two changes at half time, with Steve Basham replacing Holgate and Ballard coming on for Declan Benjamin.

And it appeared to spur City to greater attacking intent when a good pass from Felipe Barcelos put Darren Pond through on goal, but Droylsden goalkeeper Dale Latham got down well to make a smart save.

City had a lucky escape when a fearsome strike from Ellison cannoned off a post.

The match finally sparked into life when City took the lead. Learoyd rising to head a free-kick back across the face of goal which snuck into the corner.

The lead barely lasted five minutes before the sides were level again after City failed to deal with a Droylsden corner with Ashley Palmer heading in at the near post.

And matters were to get worse for the hosts just minutes later when Kerr unleashed a ferocious strike from 25 yards which left Ingram with no chance.

Time was running out for City, but they struck back with just three minutes left, from another set-piece. Latham fumbled a corner and Ballard pounced to blast home.

City could have snatched an unlikely victory in the dying minutes when a scuffed shot bounced off Basham and struck a post before being gathered gathered by a grateful Latham.

Oxford City: Ingram, Mills, Stonehouse, Malone, Learoyd, Wilmott, Benjamin (Ballard HT), Pond, Holgate (Basham HT), Barcelos (Stanley 68), Cook. Subs not used: Gunn, Mulvany.

Attendance: 183.

Referee: R Hyde.

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