MATT Paterson proved the hero as Oxford City beat Colchester United 1-0 to pull off a stunning Emirates FA Cup shock in Essex.

The striker headed home in the 46th minute to book the Vanarama National League South side’s place in the second round for the first time since 1969-70.

City produced a gutsy display in front of a subdued home crowd as they continued their fairytale run in the competition by beating Sky Bet League Two opposition.

Mark Jones made two changes from last week’s draw with Concord Rangers as Freddie Grant and Dave Pearce replaced Christian Navarro and Eddie Jones.

Meanwhile, any suggestions the hosts would take this game lightly were quashed when they named an unchanged XI from the side which beat Crewe Alexandra.

More than 50 places separate the sides in the football pyramid and Colchester, as expected, enjoyed the early possession.

City, sporting their one-off bright green away kit, forced the first corner to settle any nerves, but they were carved open on six minutes.

Ryan Jackson outpaced Grant down the left and cut the ball back for Kyle Reid, but the experienced winger fluffed his lines on the edge of the area, embarrassingly swiping at thin air.

Jones would have been happy with his side’s work rate and willingness to get bodies behind the ball early on.

But they started to show endeavour going forward as Pearce fired low at goalkeeper Sam Walker, before Zach McEachran showed neat feet in midfield and had United almost chasing his shadow.

The home fans began to groan as City were frustrating Colchester, but the tie came to life when both sides hit the woodwork in the space of two minutes.

The visitors were let off on 25 minutes, when Tom Eastman headed a Reid corner against the bar and Brandon Hanlon could only put the follow-up wide from five yards.

City were straight on the attack and Paterson won a free-kick on the edge of the area, before picking himself up to slam a 20-yard effort against the bar, which had Walker well beaten.

Colchester looked to exploit the spaces that were starting to appear, with Mikael Mandron and Doug Loft firing straight at goalkeeper Jack Stevens.

But City had the last chance of the half as the impressive McEachran found Paterson, whose first effort was blocked by Frankie Kent before he curled wide with the outside of his right boot.

The visitors had achieved their objective in frustrating the hosts in front of a subdued crowd.

And they made a dream start to the second half as Godfrey Poku won the ball in midfield and Pearce was freed down the left.

The wide man then delivered a delightful cross for Paterson to muscle his way in front of Kent and head into the bottom corner on 46 minutes and stun the hosts.

Colchester looked to respond and Reid’s free-kick clipped the top of the wall and just cleared Stevens’s bar.

The hosts were getting increasingly frustrated, switching to 4-4-2 from their preferred wing-back system, and as the clock ticked away, the travelling City fans could dare to dream.

Colchester desperately needed to find a way back into the game and substitute Craig Slater forced Stevens into a great save low to his right on 65 minutes.

The hosts continued to attack and Lewis Kinsella fired inches wide after jinking his way into the penalty area.

City had to ride waves of pressure with Mandron heading a Reid corner over the bar on 77 minutes.

Brandon Hanlon then headed a Kinsella cross weakly at Stevens as the hosts desperately tried to find an equaliser.

They should have scored with four minutes to go, though, as Grant and Lee Henderson failed to clear a long throw, but Ryan Inniss could only fire wide.

Colchester were getting desperate, but City were really holding on and they survived a barrage of corners.

Five minutes were added on and City could have made sure of victory on the counter, but Sinclair curled an effort just wide.

Colchester’s desperate attacking continued, with Grant heroically blocking a Drey Wright effort in the area.

The visitors were nearly out on their feet, but they heroically held on to secure a memorable Cup victory and spark jubilant celebrations.

Colchester Utd (3-4-1-2): Walker, Kent, Eastman, Inniss, Jackson, Comley (O’Sullivan 80), Loft (Slater 57), Wright, Reid, Mandron, Hanlan.

Subs not used: Gilmartin, Lapslie, O’Sullivan, Odelusi, James.

Oxford City (4-4-1-1): Stevens, Welch Hayes, Henderson, Oastler, Grant, McEachran (Hirst 80), Fofana, Poku, Pearce, Sinclair, Paterson (Forde 90+2).

Subs not used: Jones, Sanders, Tutton, Khawaja, Peart.

Referee: Alan Young.

Attendance: 1,775 (153 visitors).