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FOOTBALL: Pond's late goal grabs point for battling City
7:00am Monday 31st March 2014 in Sport
A late goal from skipper Darren Pond earned a point for Oxford City as they remarkably held Skril North play-off chasers Guiseley to a 3-3 draw.
City looked dead and buried when Adam Boyes put the visitors 3-1 ahead in the 82nd minute, adding to first-half strikes from Wayne Brooksby and Alex Johnson.
But late goals from Steve Basham and Pond salvaged a point for Mike Ford’s men.
The hosts, who gave teenage defender Dan West his first start, have developed a habit of conceding early goals and they found themselves two down before the break.
City had conceded eight goals in their previous two games and their defensive frailties were exposed again on 27 minutes.
Tricky winger Gavin Rothery beat Michael Pook on the left flank before crossing for Brooksby to tap in and give the visitors the advantage.
Rothery was again involved as the visitors doubled their lead twelve minutes later, breaking free on the left before squaring for Johnson to drill home.
City’s response was immediate and within a minute they earned the opportunity to reduce the deficit when Kayden Jackson nipped in ahead of Dan Parker before drawing the foul in the penalty area.
Captain Pond saw his spot-kick saved, but Jackson was on hand to follow up with the rebound to keep City’s hopes alive at the break.
Mike Symons had several chances to level for City early in the second half, twice being denied by Guiseley keeper Steve Drench before firing a third chance over from six yards.
But despite a bright start, the home side were unable to continue their intensity.
And City appeared to be heading for defeat when a hopeful punt upfield from Danny Boshell found Boyes the wrong side of the defence to slot home between keeper Matthew Bulman’s legs.
But City refused to give up, pulling one back when Jackson broke free before shooting against a post, with Basham blasting in the rebound.
And in the 89th minute, Pond found the equaliser, darting in at the near post to guide Viv Solomon-Otabor’s cross into the far corner of the net.
Oxford City: Bulman, West, Stonehouse, Pook (Solomon-Otabor 67), Learoyd, Willmott, Benjamin (Winters HT), Mullings, Symons (Basham 73), Pond, Jackson. Subs not used: Cook, Preece.
Referee: S Barrow.
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