OXFORD City were unable to break down Vanarama National League South strugglers St Albans as they played out a drab 0-0 draw.

A red card for Joe Oastler was the main talking point of a match contested in difficult conditions brought about by Storm Dennis, the City captain picking up his second yellow card late on.

But the point did see Andy Ballard’s side climb a place to 11th and they are now nine points outside the play-offs.

Ballard named the same XI that beat Slough Town 1-0 in City’s last league outing a fortnight ago, but they were almost behind after ten minutes.

Zane Banton laid the ball off to Joe Iaciofano, who crashed a shot against the post.

The striker sent an effort over the crossbar soon after as the hosts settled quicker than their opponents.

David Noble and Rohdell Gordon also tried their luck for St Albans as the wind increased, although City keeper Craig King was not troubled by either attempt.

The away side began to find their feet midway through the half and forced a succession of corners, but they too struggled to seriously threaten the hosts’ goal.

Oastler received his first yellow card ten minutes before the break, before a spell of St Albans pressure ended with David Longe-King heading over the bar.

Noble felt he should have had a penalty eight minutes after the restart, but his appeals fell on deaf ears.

As the second half wore on the conditions continued to influence proceedings, with neither side able to fashion a clear-cut opportunity for themselves.

St Albans brought on Harry Forster shortly after the hour mark in a bid to inject some energy into their display and he quickly forced King into a smart save.

The chance appeared to bring the game to life, with Reece Fleet seeing his shot saved by Dean Snedker in the 71st minute, before King was involved in a controversial incident moments later.

The referee blew for a foul on the City keeper at a corner, but while on the floor the stopper’s feet appeared to come into contact with Tom Bender’s chest and he was booked.

Ballard sent on Jaanai Gordon and Nana Owusu for Elliot Benyon and Kyran Wiltshire with 16 minutes remaining as City pushed for a winner that would have sent them tenth.

The move did not have the desired effect and City were forced to play out the contest with ten men when Oastler picked up his second booking in the 89th minute.

Oxford City: King, Jones, Jefford, Ashby, Moore-Azille, Oastler, Wiltshire (Owusu 74), Fleet, Benyon (Gordon 74), McEachran (George 90+4), Berkoe.

Unused: Foster, Barrett.

Attendance: 566.