OXFORD City Stars gave leaders Chelmsford Chieftains plenty to think about, but ultimately fell to a 4-1 defeat.

A Dax Hedges strike gave the away side an early lead in the South Division 1 clash.

The table-toppers levelled with just seven seconds of the middle period remaining.

They then scored three unanswered goals in the final third to clinch victory, their fourth strike coming in the last minute.

Head coach Simon Anderson was proud of his side’s display, but disappointed they had nothing to show for their efforts.

“We played well with no reward,” he said.

“In the first period, we tweaked our system and the boys were so smart and hard-working.

“They played it to perfection and the 1-0 lead was what we deserved.

“Dax Hedges produced a great finish and it was nice to see his hard work rewarded.”

But it was the failure to build on this lead that was to ultimately cost Stars dear.

“The second period was another good performance,” Anderson said.

“We had chances to increase our lead but a combination of great goaltending and our lack of ruthlessness in front of goal frustrated us.

“It was disappointing to concede the equaliser seven seconds from the end of the period.

“It gave them momentum and it’s something we need to learn.

“Conceding in the last minute of a period is always frustrating and we needed to lock everything down in that instance.

“We lost the game in the third and the writing was on the wall 12 seconds in when Chelmsford scored.

“We rallied but could not get one past their goalie.”

Anderson took heart from the performance and is urging his side to continue their form when they travel to Invicta Dynamos on Sunday.

“It’s definitely disappointing as we played well on the day,” he said.

“But we are not able to maintain concentration for 60 minutes and are not ruthless enough at times when we have teams on the ropes.

“It’s something that will have to change as we need to start to beat teams above us to climb the table.”

Hedges put Stars in front in the ninth minute with an assist from Olly Shone.

James Ayling levelled for Chelmsford late in the second period, before Darren Brown’s double and Elliot Dee Dervish sealed victory in the final period.