FOOTBALL: City mudlarks owe it to Winter

City striker Mike Symons brings the ball down before hitting the bar from 30 yards

City striker Mike Symons brings the ball down before hitting the bar from 30 yards

First published in Non League

TOM Winters struck after just six minutes to give Oxford City a 1-0 victory over Skrill North relegation contenders Gloucester City at a muddy Marsh Lane, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

Large pools of water had to be cleared from the pitch in order to get the game on and those efforts were immediately rewarded when Winters gave City an early lead.

Kayden Jackson broke up the right wing before finding Winters unmarked in a central position to drive home.

It was a lively start from City, who had a chance to take the lead even earlier after Jackson beat his man and shot across the face of goal in the second minute.

City’s dominance of the early exchanges continued and they could have doubled their advantage soon after the opening goal from a corner.

Chris Willmott headed against the bar and Mike Symons was unable to turn in the rebound as Gloucester scrambled clear.

The visitors then fought their way back into the game and began to apply some pressure.

Zac Kotwica went close to restoring parity after finding himself in space at the back post, but his effort was superbly foiled by the quick reactions of goalkeeper Mark Scott.

City were perhaps grateful to hear the half-time whistle, but regrouped and were rarely troubled in the second half as they restricted Gloucester to half-chances.

Matt Groves saw his effort blocked by Adam Learoyd six yards from goal and Lewis Hogg shot just over from distance.

City showed little attacking intent themselves, but created the better chances when they did venture forward.

Substitute Michael Pook blazed over from a good position after Jackson had pulled the ball back to him in front of goal.

And Mike Symons was desperately unlucky to see his powerful 30-yard shot cannon back off the crossbar after he had spotted goalkeeper Mike Green off his line.

City appeared to have done enough to claim three important points, but there was one final scare deep in injury time as Scott was called upon to keep out Joe Parker’s late effort and deny the visitors an equaliser.

Oxford City: Scott, Ballard, Stonehouse, Benjamin (Pook 68), Learoyd, Willmott, Jackson (Cook 84), Malone (Henderson 90), Symons, Pond, Winters.

Sub not used: Palmer.

Referee: M Dexter.

Attendance: 273.

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