ANDY Ballard is calling for an instant reaction from Oxford City when they entertain Braintree Town in Vanarama National League South tomorrow.

City slipped to a 3-0 defeat at Dartford last weekend in a game marred by a horrific injury to Finn Tapp, who was taken from the field on a stretcher following a nasty clash of heads.

The defender’s injury was not as bad as first feared and he sat on the bench during the second half, but he will not feature tomorrow after flying out to South Africa to appear on reality TV show Love Island.

His teammates will bid to get back to winning ways against a side who are just above the relegation zone after losing their last five games, but Ballard has warned his players to avoid complacency.

The City boss said: “Braintree will see us as an opportunity to bounce back, but we are treating the game in the same way.

“They have been on a poor run and hopefully we can capitalise on that with our good home form.”

City began 2020 with wins over Hungerford and leaders Wealdstone, but they were well beaten in Kent.

The eighth-minute injury to Tapp and the long stoppage that followed got the visitors off to the worst possible start, but the manager had no complaints about the result.

He said: “It wasn’t nice seeing Finn down for that period of time.

“It looked really bad for a while, but thankfully, the medical staff were great and it wasn’t quite as bad as first feared.

“But Finn’s injury disrupted the flow of the game, and us having to make a change so early wasn’t ideal.

“I’m not using that as an excuse though, Dartford were much the better side and deserved their win.”

Tapp was due to be unavailable for selection until receiving medical clearance, but the length of his absence depends on his success in the Love Island villa.

The 20-year-old was due to first appear on the show last night, with the programme running until the end of February.

Josh Ashby returns to the squad after serving a two-match ban.

Goalkeeper Craig King is back in training, but not yet match fit so Oxford United loanee Max Harris will continue in goal.


Oxford City (v Dartford, away): from Harris, Jones, Jefford, Oastler, Wiltshire, Fleet, Ashby, McEachran, Berkoe, Rowe, Lofthouse, Gordon, Moore-Azille, Benyon, Owusu, George, Brown.