A WONDER goal from Reece Fleet just before half-time was enough to secure Oxford City a hard-fought 1-0 win at home to Ebbsfleet United.

David Oldfield made two changes from the side which lost 4-1 to St Albans in the FA Trophy.

Charlie Rowan served the first of a three-match ban after receiving a straight red card for a stamp in the St Albans game, with him and Alfie Potter making way for Fleet and Canice Carroll.

Josh Ashby kept his place in the side after he returned against St Albans, following his own three-match suspension for a red card against Chelmsford City.

The first chance of the game fell for the Hoops on seven minutes.

A poor clearance from goalkeeper Chris Haigh fell straight to the feet of Fleet, and the ball made its way to George Harmon who fired just over the crossbar from the left side of the penalty area.

Another opportunity fell City’s way three minutes later when Fleet lofted the ball towards Harvey Bradbury, who nodded down to strike partner Joe Iaciofano but Haigh got down low to thwart the striker’s attempt.

The visitors then appealed for a penalty when Joe Martin went down in the box but referee Greg Rollason was unmoved and waved any Ebbsfleet appeals.

Dominic Poleon had the ball in the net moments later when he tapped in from close range but the striker was flagged offside.

With 17 minutes on the clock, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling found himself with space to drive into and fired a fizzing effort at goal from the right side of the area but Ben Dudzinski was equal to it and parried over his crossbar.

Three minutes later, it was City’s turn to have a go.

A brilliant ball from a deep position by Fleet found Harry Kyprianou on the right, and he took his time before cutting in and shooting low, but Haigh was equal to the effort.

On 26 minutes, Ben Chapman unleashed a speculative effort from the right angle of the area, with his shot flying over Dudzinski’s bar.

Ebbsfleet should’ve opened the scoring less than a minute later when Will Wood had space just inside the box but his shot sailed over.

The visitors sensed an opening and pressed upfield, with a cross by Rakish Bingham drifting over his teammates’ heads.

With five minutes to go until the break, Dudzinski had to get down low to be equal to a free kick from Martin.

As half-time approached, City took the lead through a speculative effort from Fleet.

The visitors failed to effectively clear their lines from a free kick from the right and after the ball knocked around the penalty area, it fell for Fleet to hit a sweet strike into the top corner from just outside the area.

Ebbsfleet came out looking for an equaliser early in the second half and Poleon headed over from point-blank range.

City however kept their shape well and it wasn’t until the 64th minute that the away side forced another chance.

Again it was Poleon, this time twisting and turning inside the box before hitting the side netting from the left side.

A wicked cross from Jack Paxman was then clawed behind by Dudzinski before Adebayo-Rowling sent in a dangerous cross.

Oldfield was the first to make a change as Jacob Bancroft came on for Iaciofano on 68 minutes.

Nine minutes later, Ebbsfleet brought on Romain Elliott and Christian N’Guessan for Wood and Paxman as they sought an equaliser. Martin was replaced by Sido Jombati in the visitors’ final change.

With five minutes to go, the Ebbsfleet hunt for a route back in the game took a blow as Adebayo-Rowling was shown a red card for a headbutt on Fleet.

City held firm and despite some late half chances, hung on for an impressive three points.