Conceding an early goal cost Oxford City their chance of beating Stockport County in Skrill North on Saturday, according to manager Mike Ford, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

City fell behind in the first minute to an Iain Howard effort from which they never recovered as the hosts' striker went on add a second five minutes from time for a 2-0 victory. 

And Ford admitted it had spoiled his team’s gameplan.

“The opening goal was the difference in the game because the longer it went on the more we had to chase the game,” he said.

“When you travel four hours on a coach and you go a goal down in the first minute-and-a-half it makes life very difficult.

“We made sure at half-time we addressed a couple of issues, which we did, and I thought in the second half my players couldn’t give me any more.”

But, despite a renewed effort in the second half, City created few chances and were unable to haul themselves back into the game.

“We passed it well at times without really opening them up,” Ford added.

“There were very few chances in the second half, but I thought we stuck to it and we had a right good go.

“I thought we were very dominant in the midfield.

“I then went two up top, so we lost a midfield player and they kept catching us on the break. So the first goal kills you.”