Oxford City were beaten 2-1 by a controversial goal in the dying minutes of their Blue Square bey North game against Gloucester City at Marsh Lane on Saturday, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

Gloucester had taken the lead midway through the first half thanks to a headed goal from Will Morford, but City appeared to have earned a point when Jamie Cook struck home on 73 minutes. However, it was Gloucester who took the the points when Morford’s 85th-minute effort was adjudged to have crossed the line.

The striker chipped the ball goalwards from wide on the right, and City defender Andy Gunn raced to clear it off the line. Referee Wayne Porter initially appeared not to have awarded the goal.

But after a brief consultation with his assistant signalled to centre circle to the disbelief of the City players and many of the stunned spectators.

City had started the game well. Mark Bell’s shot from just outside the penalty area going inches wide of the right-hand post. The hosts had another good chance to take the lead when Ashan Holgate rose to flick a long ball into the path of Felipe Barcelos.

But the Brazilian was unable to get enough on the ball.

Gloucester broke upfield with the dangerous Adam Mann making an excellent run down the left wing and shooting against the feet of City keeper Matt Ingram.

Morford rose highest to nod in the rebound to give Gloucester a 19th-minute lead, which they deservedly held until half-time. Morford came close to doubling his tally in the second half after effortlessly bringing down an aerial ball with his right foot and shooting just wide with his left. City had offered little going forward.

But they pulled themselves level in the 73rd minute thanks to some quick-thinking from Bell, who squared a quick free-kick to Holgate inside the six-yard area. He laid the ball off for Jamie Cook to bury his left-footed shot into the corner of the net. Gloucester almost responded immediately thanks to some good work on the right from Morford, who played Mann into space, but he was unable to keep his shot down. With a draw looking increasingly likely, the visitors re-stored their lead in controversial fashion.

The result brought to an end City’s three-game unbeaten run.

Oxford City: Ingram, Stonehouse, Stanley, Ballard, Learoyd, Gunn, Barcelos, Pond (McNish 51), Holgate (Cook 59), Mulvany (Benjamin 56), Bell. Sub not used: McEachran.

Attendance: 446.