OXFORD City Stars head coach Simon Anderson hailed his side after seeing them start the season with a sensational combeack victory.

The hosts were left stunned after shipping five unanswered goals in the first period to trail 5-0 to Bracknell Hornets in their opening South Division 1 clash.

But they staged a remarkable comeback to run out 6-5 winners after showing incredible character in a match that will go down in Stars’ folklore.

Josh Oliver led the fightback with a smash-and-grab hat-trick.

It left Anderson with immense pride at the character his team showed.

“After the first couple of goals we started to panic and didn’t pick players up,” he said.

“In the break we calmed everybody down and got back to basics.

“With every goal we scored I could see us grow in confidence and eventually we got what we deserved.”

He added: “Every player to a man was outstanding and did everything I asked.

“The guys deserve all the plaudits they are getting.

“The will to win was so evident and I’m proud to call those guys my players after that.

“A big thank you to the fans for sticking with us throughout the game.”

Hero Oliver added: “It was great to get a hat-trick in such a meaningful game.

“The win was the main thing and it wouldn’t have happened without the hard work from the whole team to win battles, protect our netminder and fight for the last goals to secure the win.”

Hornets broke the deadlock through Steve Osman in the tenth minute and Matt Foord doubled their lead just over a minute later.

After three more goals before the buzzer, the writing looked on the wall.

But Stars came out fighting and Oliver hit the first goal within two minutes of the restart.

New captain Josh Florey bagged an unassisted goal and Oliver completed his hat-trick with two more great strikes to bring the hosts back in the game.

Two fights broke out as the match intensified and the Stars entered the final period just one goal behind.

After 12 hard-fought minutes, the Stars drew level through Mike Whillock.

And two minutes later the sensational comeback was complete when David Manning scored the winner on his Stars debut, sparking incredible scenes at Oxpens.