FOOTBALL: Buoyant City rocked by Pond blow

Liam Malone (right) was praised by Oxford City general manager Justin Merritt after the win at Hyde United

Liam Malone (right) was praised by Oxford City general manager Justin Merritt after the win at Hyde United

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Non League Football. Call me on 01865 425488

Oxford City skipper Darren Pond faces several weeks on the sidelines with a hip injury.

Pond suffered the blow in City’s 1-0 opening-day win at Hyde United in Vanarama Conference North on Saturday.

The first game he will miss is the clash with Worcester City at Marsh Lane tonight when general manager Justin Merritt will be looking for a repeat result.

City were forced to defend with ten men for an hour at Hyde after Darren Mullings was sent off.

And Merritt said: “It didn’t go as we envisaged, but it was pleasing to come away with a victory.”

However, he was less happy with Mullings’ dismissal.

He added: “I thought a yellow card would have been a bit harsh, so I was very disappointed with the decision – it was a soft sending off, but our players accepted it and got on with it. Ten minutes later, Darren limped off.

“Situations like these can be character-building and hopefully the guys can take a lot of confidence from it.

“Liam Malone (who replaced Pond) did exceptionally well. It just shows the importance of having a good-sized squad. Having 11 good players is not enough.”

Banbury United boss Edwin Stein is backing his Southern League Premier Division side to bounce back at home to Hitchin Town.

Despite a 1-0 loss to Poole Town, Stein saw many positives in the Puritans’ display.

“I thought we played well, but we weren’t brave enough in the final third,” he said.

Banbury could give debuts to former Oxford City winger Jacob Walcott and ex-Spurs youth player Victor Zapata.

TONIGHT’S SQUADS 

Oxford City (v Worcester City, home): from Scott, Benjamin, Stonehouse, Malone, Lapoujade Garde, Green, Wilson, Mullings, Yussuf, Rodriguez, del Alamo, Barcelos, Winters, Brown, Hernandez.

Banbury Utd (v Hitchin Tn, home): from Nuamah, Cray, Strafford, Mzungwana, Westbrook, Murombedzi, Abrahams, Evangelinos, Green, Martin, Masri, Adekunie, Osyemi, Browne, Oke, Vincent-Young.

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