OXFORD City’s new era opened with a victory as a superb first-half strike from Javier Rodriguez was enough to beat hosts Hyde United on Saturday.
And City, watched by their American president Thomas Guerriero, achieved their opening-day victory with only ten men after skipper Darren Mullings had been sent off in the first half.
It became a City rearguard action after that, but inspired by a man-of-the-match performance from goalkeeper Mark Scott, they held on.
Scott was called into action early on when making an excellent block to deny Connor Hughes Hyde, relegated from the Conference Premier last season, set a strong pace, but it was City, who took the lead after 13 minutes.
They were awarded a free kick 20 yards from goal.
Rodriguez, one of three Spaniards making their league debuts for City, fired it up and over keeper Billy O’Brien’s wall for a terrific goal.
From then on, City grew in stature, taking the game to their opponents.
But after 30 minutes, Mullings (pictured left) was shown the red card following a late challenge on Hyde’s Aaron Chalmers.
In first-half injury time, City’s Adi Yussuf grazed the bar with a dangerous cross.
Niggly fouls interrupted the flow of the game in the second half.
Hyde should have levelled when Steve Tames rounded Scott, but he shot into the side-netting Scott made an important save to keep out the dangerous Hughes as Hyde sought to equalise.
In the closing stages, O’Brien had to go full length to prevent Rodriguez a second goal, while Yussuf shot wide from eight yards.
At the other end, Hyde’s Josh Brizell headed just over from a corner as City held on for a morale-boosting victory, much to the relief of general manager Justin Merritt and not least, Guerriero.
Oxford City: Scott, Benjamin, Stonehouse, Pond, (Malone 40), Lapoujade Garde, Green, Wilson, (Barcelos 50) Mullings, Yussuf, Rodriguez, del Alamo (Winters 50). Subs not used: Brown, Hernandez.
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Latest Sport news
11:47am Friday 24th October 2014
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has given special dispensation to Caterham to miss the next two grands prix whilst a buyer is sought for the cash-strapped marque.
5:46pm Friday 24th October 2014
Oxford City have completed the signing of former Royal Antwerp defender Kiko Insa, who will go straight into the side for tomorrow's Vanarama Conference North fixture against Hednesford Town at Marsh Lane.
'Major hope' that Caterham factory in Leafield could re-open despite F1 team also going into administration
1:34pm Friday 24th October 2014
ADMINISTRATORS have been handed full management responsibility for the Caterham Formula One team in a bid to find a new buyer.
11:30am Friday 24th October 2014
THE presence of Andy Whing back in the Oxford United side has prompted other players to raise their game, according to Michael Collins.
11:20am Friday 24th October 2014
KEITH Curle has demanded a strong start from Carlisle United when they host Oxford United at Brunton Park tomorrow.
9:30am Friday 24th October 2014
James Roberts is in no mood to rest on his laurels as the young Oxford United striker looks to feature in a fourth successive game when they visit Carlisle United tomorrow.
9:20am Friday 24th October 2014
ALFIE Potter says the secret to his return to form has been learning to enjoy football again after a difficult spell.
9:10am Friday 24th October 2014
MICHAEL Collins has revealed Oxford United are using a reminder of their hammering at Cambridge United to get fired-up for games.
9:00am Friday 24th October 2014
WILL Hoskins continues to be well ahead of schedule in his recovery from a groin injury.
8:20am Friday 24th October 2014
OXFORD United’s next home game has been designated as Yellow Army Day by the club’s supporters’ group.