Vanarama National League South
Saturday 14 November 2015 -Twerton Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Phillips, Bowman, Gallinagh (c), Coupe, Ball, Adelsbury, Kington, Artus (Williams 67), Pratt (McCootie 58), Watkins, Mohamed. subs not used: John, Yeoman, Hemmings.
|man of the match:
||C Lymer, J Durkin, M Underhay
|league position: 8th
||next match: Margate (A)
Report taken from
High-flying Oxford City took advantage of a sloppy Bath City performance to leave Twerton Park with three points.
They were two goals up within 30 minutes through strikes from Connor McDonaugh and Darren Pond.
Until that point, the game had been relatively even, but the off-colour Romans spent the majority of the second period on the back foot and conceded a third from Carlos Pifarre.
Kaid Mohamed passed up two chances to at least score a consolation for the home side, and Matt Coupe saw an effort cleared off the line, but Nick McCootie would net in stoppage time.
The first break of the game went to City. Within the first two minutes, a Ben Adelsbury ball found Andy Watkins in the left-hand channel.
He was bundled over by Luke Coulson, but the wide free-kick from Ashley Kington went straight into the gloves of Laurie Walker.
Jose Lapoujade would charge forward from his centre-half position for Oxford, but dribbled his shot to Steve Phillips.
The visitors went ahead on 12 minutes following an Adelsbury foul. Omari Sterling-James sent the set-piece into the mix, where McDonaugh turned an emphatic header into the far corner.
For much of the half, City were allowed more than adequate possession, but the stark difference was in final-third prowess.
Dave Pratt had a penalty shout denied by the referee as he backed into Jon Arzemendi, while a fine Dan Bowman cross also narrowly evaded the striker's head.
For all their efforts, the Romans found themselves two-down just before the half-hour.
Phillips made his first error in a City shirt when he spilled a 25-yard Sterling-James effort – albeit with a wicked skid and bounce on the slick turf – and Pond tapped home the rebound.
Perhaps shellshocked, the hosts then had to turn away a string of Oxford attacks, including a stinging Pond effort that deflected behind off Dan Ball's back.
There was also a momentary scare when Coupe's outstretched toe almost turned a Sterling-James cross past Phillips, who was able to gather.
City's best chance of the half came when Frankie Artus – who would later pick up his fifth yellow card of the season – curled in a free-kick that an unmarked Mohamed failed to get a touch on, but still almost found its way into the far corner.
There was almost a slice of luck for the Romans to open the second period as a right-wing Watkins cross almost sliced under Walker's crossbar, although the Oxford keeper would eventually hold on.
Pifarre drew a low save from Phillips with a scything effort before scoring the third moments later.
Coulson laid off a simple ball to the Spaniard on the edge of the box, and he mercilessly lashed into the bottom corner.
A speculative Adelsbury shot could – and perhaps should – have given City a route back into the game.
Walker awkwardly parried his thunderous dig straight back into play and made a reaction save from Mohamed's follow-up, which could have been better directed.
As the half wore on more and more City passes were misplaced, with Phillips put under pressure with passbacks on more than one occasion.
One incident saw the keeper dally on the ball and eventually play it out for a throw-in with no options available, resulting in he and Ball blaring at each other.
The pace of the game dropped off dramatically, mostly with the visitors, who had played in midweek, trying to conserve their energies.
They almost extended their lead further, working the ball across the pitch to Coulson, whose driven cross was not too wide of the far upright.
The Romans should have at least got themselves on the scoresheet after Watkins picked up on McCootie's poor touch and played Mohamed into the acres of space, only for the frontman to lean back and crash his shot well over the crossbar from ten yards.
Another chance came and went for City when a free-kick from substitute Brad Williams went through a sea of bodies in the centre of the box.
Coupe attempted to sweep the ball towards the bottom corner, but saw his effort cleared off the line by a well-placed Oxford defender.
One final Coulson cross made its way to Julen Lafuerte, who was denied by a stretching Coupe block, and Kalam Patterson headed at Phillips.
City would net a consolation when McCootie notched from close-range in the second minute of injury time before a Coupe thunderbolt was cleared off the line.