8:00am Monday 24th February 2014
Goalkeeper Mark Scott saved a penalty as Oxford City secured a battling draw at in-form Barrow in Skrill North on Saturday.
When the sides met earlier this month, a mistake by Scott allowed Phil Marsh to score the only goal in a 1-0 victory.
But the City keeper was in no mood to suffer the same torment second time around, making a string of fine saves to deny the hosts, including a super stop from Nick Rushton’s spot-kick.
Scott was powerless to stop Marsh firing Barrow in front six minutes before the break.
But Steve Basham headed home of the stroke of half-time to earn City a well-earned point.
The hosts had won ten of their last 11 games, but despite applying heavy pressure in the closing stages they couldn’t break down a stubborn visiting defence.
City, who named defender Daniel Akubuine on the bench after signing him from Skrill Premier side Nuneaton Town, matched Barrow in most departments in the first half.
The hosts, however, were able to carve out the better chances and the lively Marsh caused plenty of problems.
Barrow had the chance to take the lead early on when Marsh was brought down by Adam Learoyd as he burst through on goal.
But former Salisbury stopper Scott made a superb save down to his right to keep out Rushton’s spot-kick.
Scott was almost single-handedly responsible for keeping City in the game, saving from Duran Reynolds before Andrew Burns volleyed over from close range.
But he was eventually beaten on 39 minutes when Sam Sheridan curled a free-kick in from the edge of the area which Marsh poked home.
City responded well and before the half was over were level with their first
effort on target, Basham nipping in ahead of goalkeeper Tony McMillan to head in a corner on his first start since November.
City dug in after the break, dominating possession and limiting Barrow’s opportunities without creating too many chances of their own.
But as the minutes ticked by, Barrow piled on the pressure.
Robbie Williams and Gareth Arnison both spurned golden chances before Scott denied Marsh a late winner, flinging himself in front of the striker's close-range effort to earn City a hard-earned point.
Oxford City: Scott, Ballard, Stonehouse, Pook, Learoyd, Willmott, Benjamin (Hend-erson 83), McNish, Basham (Symons 57), Pond (Jackson 45), Winters. Subs not used: Cook, Akubuine.
Referee: P Graham.
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