Justin Merritt praised the impact of on-loan midfielder Jeremy Balmy in Oxford City's comfortable 2-0 win at fellow promotion candidates Hednesford Town, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

General manager Merritt brought the Frenchman in on loan from neighbours Oxford United last week and threw him straight in at the deep end for a vital Vanarama Conference North clash at Hednesford.

It was Balmy's first competitive match since August after enduring an injury-hit season, but Merritt was pleased with his contribution.

“I thought he showed some good quality when we could get him on the ball,” he said.

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“It was probably a little bit different for him playing in the Conference North and he didn't have much time to settle.

“He played a terrific pass for Luke Coulson's opening goal, showed some great stuff and I think he'll be a good addition.”

Coulson's 22nd-minute opener proved a turning-point as City went on to control the game and Merritt was surprised at how comfortable his side were.

He said: “Scoring that early was a bit of a bonus and I thought we controlled it for the whole 90 minutes.

“It could have been a lot more in terms of the scoreline.”