OXFORD City were unable to repeat their heroics of the previous two seasons as they were comprehensively outplayed and outgunned by a powerful Solihull Moors in Saturday’s first round clash at Court Place Farm.

City trailed 3-0 by half-time, and quickly found themselves 5-0 down after the break with James Ball bagging a four-timer.

They kept going, however, and Kyran Wiltshire’s late strike with a peach of a free-kick brought one bright spot to a horrible day.

City have enjoyed something of a love affair with the FA Cup in recent seasons, but the dream turned into a nightmare as Solihull, from the league above, showed their class and prowess in front of goal with a ruthlessly clinical display.

Coming into the game on the back of three strong performances in Vanarama National League South City made just one enforced change to their starting XI, Stefan Brown replacing the cup-tied Elliot Benyon up front.

But despite fielding their strongest possible line-up, City were soon trailing.

Paul McCallum had already signalled Solihull’s intent, heading just wide from a corner in the fourth minute.

But he made no such mistake in the tenth minute as he rose to powerfully head home from Jake Beesley’s fine centre.

Straight from the restart, Solihull attacked again, and only a smart save from City keeper Craig King denied them a second goal.

The hosts finally found a reliable route forward with Zac McEachran’s lively movement and ability on the ball.

But despite showing some patient build-up play, Solihull defended well and did not let the home side through.

A more direct approach almost paid off when a driven ball into the box found Brown, but he clipped his effort wide of the post.

Solihull weathered this brief spell of City pressure, and on the half-hour, they doubled their lead.

McEachran was dispossessed on the edge of the area and Moors quickly turned defence into attack.

A pin-point long ball from keeper Ryan Boot picked out Danny Wright, who in turn found an unmarked Ball for a simple finish.

Solihull were good value for their lead, but when they added a third just before the break, the game was effectively over.

City appeared to deal with another long delivery, but seemed unprepared for the second ball to come straight back in, McCallum winning the aerial battle to knock down for Ball to finish calmly from six yards.

Any hopes of a famous comeback in the second half were shot away within seconds of the restart.

Lee Vaughan made inroads down the right and delivered a dangerous cross which Ball hooked towards goal.

The effort lacked power, but had just enough to defeat the backtracking Finn Tapp as he looked to make a clearance.

If anybody thought the Solihull midfielder might be done for the day, they were mistaken, as he took just four more minutes to add his fourth and Solihull’s fifth goal.

It came with a slice of fortune as Beesley’s quick feet earned him a sight of goal.

King was equal to the shot on goal, but the keeper could do nothing to prevent the loose ball falling to Ball for another composed finish.

The quickfire double knocked all the stuffing out of City, and, rather than launch into counter-attacking, they focused instead on damage limitation.

With that in mind a double change saw new signing Kingston Kofi Nyanney replacing Brown and Eddie Jones making way for Danny Rowe.

As a result, the final half hour became something of a stalemate.

There was, however, still time for the hosts to make their mark with arguably the goal of the game.

A foul on the edge of the area gave Wiltshire an opportunity to line up a shot and he happily obliged, drilling home a superb strike from 25 yards into the top corner to leave Boot with no chance.

While it was never going to spark a magical comeback, it did, at least, encourage City to push forward again.

They were almost made to regret being so adventurous as Beesley robbed King of possession on the edge of the City area, but the striker took too long in taking aim, allowing substitute Tarek Moore-Azille to make a goal-line clearance.

That brought an end to an eventful FA Cup journey, with City now eager to put this behind them as they focus on trying to continue their push up the league table with a trip to Chelmsford next weekend.


Oxford City: King, Jones (Rowe 55), Tapp, Oastler, Jefford, Fleet, Ashby, Wiltshire 6, McEachran (Moore-Azille), Owusu, Brown (Nyammey 56). Subs (not used): Self, Fasanmade, Wright, Gough.

Solihull Moors: Boot, Vaughan, Howe, Gudger, Reckford, Storer, Ball (Hawkridge 67), Gunning, Wright (Yusuff 55), McCallum (Blissett 71), Beesley. Subs (not used): Williams, Osborne, Hancox, Rowley.

Attendance: 667.

Referee: Thomas Parsons.