Oxfordshire suffered the heartbreak of conceding a goal in stoppage time as they went down 2-1 to Kent in the ESFA Under 14 PlayStation Inter County Trophy first round at Milton United.
With the sides locked together at 1-1, Tanto Olaofe headed home an inswinging corner to leave the Oxon lads crestfallen.
Oxfordshire were hit by five withdrawals – including captain Ross McMahon and vice-captain Aaron Heap – because of injury, illness and commitments with professional clubs.
But despite this, Oxon started brightly and took the lead after 17 minutes when Kyreece Martei forced the ball home from close range following a free-kick.
Playing down the slope, Kent became more of a threat in the second half and equalised midway through it.
A clumsy tackle gave the visitors a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, and Daniel Martin floated the ball over the wall and into the net.
Oxon’s Jack Buchanan beat three players in a mazy run, but his shot was deflected out by keeper Jake Leonard’s outstretched foot, while Oxon stopper Andrew Francis tipped a fierce drive onto the crossbar.
Kent hit a post soon afterwards, but they weren’t to be denied with Olaofe snatching victory at the death.
OXFORDSHIRE’S opponents in the ESFA Under 16 Inter County Trophy second round will be West Midlands after they beat Leicestershire & Rutland 3-2 at Leicester City’s training ground.
A date and venue for the tie has yet to be arranged.