Vanarama National League South
Saturday 5 March 2016 - Oxford City Stadium - kick off 3.00pm
||Phillips (c), Bowman, Greenslade, Gallinagh, Ball, Hemmings, Artus (Simpson HT), Kelly, Kington (Murphy 78), Pratt, Watkins (Williams 83). subs not used: none
|man of the match:
||Artus (43), Gallinagh (52), Murphy (79)
||S Yianni, E Clark, D Hanna
|league position: 16th
||next match: Ebbsfleet United (H)
Report taken from
A mercurial late strike from Liam Kelly was not enough to secure three points for Bath City as they conceded a galling penalty in a draw at Oxford City.
The Romans had shaded the game over the 90 minutes and went ahead with just ten to play.
Their goal stemmed from the tenacity of Reading loan midfielder Kelly, who poached possession from a defender, gathered the loose ball at the edge of the box and bent an effort deliciously into the top corner.
But that only seemed to startled Oxford into life, and they equalised when Bradley Bubb scored from the spot after he was chopped down by Danny Greenslade.
A final rearguard was required to keep the home side out in the dying stages, but City held on for a point, although the gap to the National League South drop zone closed with Weston-super-Mare's win.
There was no let-up in Gary Owers' injury problems, with only three substitutes available to him.
Ashley Kington replaced Bristol City loanee Billy Murphy as the only change to the starting line-up, while youngster Louis Perry had no place in the squad, having been an unused sub against Gosport on Tuesday.
The sizable travelling support – which had been forced to trudge half way around Marsh Lane when the teams switched ends after the coin toss – were in fine voice, drowning out the small clutch of Oxford fans they shared a stand with.
They witnessed the first City effort within five minutes when Chas Hemmings was given the space to shoot straight at keeper Lawrie Walker from 22 yards.
The visitors did the bulk of the probing for the opening quarter-hour as Oxford sporadically came forward on the counter.
There was no more work for Walker, however, as a second Hemmings shot – pulled wide across goal – and a couple of free-kicks were all they could muster.
By and large that was the way it remained for the next 20 minutes.
Kington brushed the side netting with a swerving volley, while the hosts had to wait until the 34th minute for their first shot at goal, as Julen Lafuente laid off for Jon Arzamendi to strike a City defender.
Steve Phillips had to drop down to pluck a fizzing Matt Whichelow cross, but aside from a handful of set pieces, the visitors were rarely troubled.
They continued to threaten as the first period wound down with a barrage of their own set plays.
Hemmings and Dave Pratt saw two strikes blocked in quick succession as one free-kick dropped in the box, while a handful of corners – driven in dangerously by Kelly – failed to fall their way.
The final act of the half rather aptly summed up City's dominance but lack of incision; Hemmings booming a long-ranger over the stand and out of the ground.
Almost instantly the second period was brighter as Andy Watkins had an effort turned behind by Walker, and Hemmings headed the resulting corner narrowly wide.
At the other end, Whichelow – once a Championship hopeful with Watford – rode two challenges and cracked a fierce shot that bounced hard off a visiting defender.
Frankie Artus, recipient of a first-half yellow card, had been removed at the break for Sekani Simpson, pushing Bowman into a more advanced role.
A week on from netting his first City goal, the wideman went looking for another as he cut in from the right and scuffed a left-footed shot comfortably for Walker.
Oxford, however, were having much more of the play and looked infinitely more threatening.
At one point they hassled the Romans into giving up possession and sent sub Kaylem Patterson flying down the right.
His low cross was turned behind by a defender at the far post, with the substitute's header from the corner cleared off the line by Kington.
From there the game ebbed back the visitors' way. Walker had no room for error darting off his line to karate kick the ball upfield with Watkins running on, while Bowman thrashed another effort wide.
Watkins then saw a close-range dig cleared off the goal-line and Oxford cleared the rebound before Pratt could dash in and hammer home.
The breakthrough came ten minutes from time as Kelly robbed a defender and curled the first goal of his loan spell into the top corner.
In response, Patterson hit the bar via a City body. The Romans defence then kept out a sequence of strikes from Patterson, Paul Stonehouse and Jose Lapoujade.
But Oxford found a way to level when Bubb was fouled by Greenslade and converted the penalty himself.
That did not stop the hosts' late pressure, as they penned City back further. Connor McDonagh and Bubb drew two saves in succession from Phillips, with Simpson then clearing another shot from the line.
Bubb passed up another opportunity towards the end, though the visitors could have won it at the last when Brad Williams struck agonisingly wide across goal.