OXFORD City’s Vanarama National League South campaign kicked off with a hard-fought draw at Braintree Town.

Dan Matsuzaka rescued a point for City late on, after the game burst into life in the second half.

Zico Asare, Jack Davies, Charlie Rowan and Joe Iaciofano all made full debuts in Essex, with debutant Davies losing possession on 17 minutes and Femi Akinwande forcing a save from Ben Dudzinski.

That wake-up call caused City to calm the game down and they created a chance of their own before the end of the half, when excellent work from Lewis Coyle brought a fine save from Preston Edwards in the Braintree goal, after a weaving run.

The rebound fell for Iaciofano, but Edwards was once again able to stop the shot and scrambled it over for a corner.

The hosts opened the scoring on 50 minutes when Alfie Payne connected with a long throw that was allowed to travel too far into the City box.

On 65 minutes, Akinwande received a second booking after he swung an elbow at Charlie Rowan.

With the man advantage, the Hoops began a siege on the Braintree goal.

Coyle, Reece Fleet and Josh Ashby all wasted opportunities before Matsuzaka rose highest from an Ashby cross with six minutes to go.