Vanarama National League South
Tuesday 6 September 2016 - Twerton Park - kick off 7.45pm
||O'Leary, Hickford (Marshall 81), Ball (c), Hemmings, Monthe, Rigg, Diallo, Murphy, McCootie (Fleetwood 66), Hunter, Artus (Hutchinson 58). subs not used: Batten, Bowman.
|man of the match:
||G Parsons, M Bloor, S Graham
|league position: 7th
||next match: Hampton & Richmond (A)
Report taken from
Ten-man Oxford stunned Bath City by picking up all three points at a balmy Twerton Park on Tuesday night.
Despite losing James Roberts just before the interval to a straight red card, the clinical finishing of Michael Fondop proved the difference between the two sides as the strugglers picked up their first win since the opening day of the season.
Bath boss Gary Owers was dealt a blow in the warm-up when Andy Watkins suffered a recurrence of his calf injury, which meant a late change to the line-up and a first start of the season for Frankie Artus.
That reshuffle should have been forgotten early on when the hosts wasted a glorious chance to open the scoring. Manny Monthe's precision ball carved the Oxford defence open and put Nick McCootie in the clear, but the forward saw his low strike tipped around the post by Jack Stevens.
An early opener would have been the perfect tonic against a side who had shipped 11 first-half goals going into the game, with only one point picked up out of the last 21 available and no wins away from home.
But they didn't look short on confidence in attack when Fondop found himself behind the City back four, but after rounding O'Leary he dallied on the ball, which allowed the covering Harry Hickford to hack the ball to safety.
While Fondop continued to be a nuisance for the Romans' defence, he was left cursing his own defenders for gifting City an opener on 28 minutes.
After initial good work by Shaquille Hunter down the left, his cross appeared to be cleared, but an attempted back-pass caught out Stevens and the alert McCootie nipped in to pinch the ball from the keeper's toe and thump the ball into the empty net, his first goal of the season.
Fondop nearly levelled things up for the visitors when Scott Davies' ball over the top caught out the City back-line, but O'Leary bravely punched away to prevent a goal, with the opposition striker harshly adjudged to have fouled the City stopper.
McCootie nearly doubled his tally for the season when Hunter's hanging cross was punched in the air by Stevens under pressure, with the persistent forward swiveling and nearly finding the top corner with a hooked shot when left grounded.
The away side's chances of finding a way back into the game were dealt a significant blow just before the interval when Roberts lunged in on Rigg, catching him on his right ankle just in front of the home dugout, which saw him receive his marching orders from referee Gary Parsons, amid protests from the visiting players and management.
Dan Ball and Rigg both sent efforts just off target soon after the start of the second half as City looked to put the ten men to the sword, but it was the visitors who showed them how to finish.
Jonny Giles, making his debut having signed on loan from Oxford United, marked it in memorable fashion by gracefully gliding his way through the City defence before superbly thundering a shot across O'Leary and into the top corner.
Josh Hutchinson and Stuart Fleetwood were introduced in quick succession for Artus and McCootie. Fleetwood made a near instant impact when after linking up with Hunter, but saw his driven cross fly
With 11 minutes remaining, the visitors stunned Twerton Park by taking the lead. A clearance from Jordy Ngathe saw O'Leary hesitate, which allowed Fondop to escape the shackles of Monthe and Chas Hemmings before rounding the back-tracking keeper and slotting home.
Oxford breathed a sigh of relief on 85 minutes when Fleetwood found himself unmarked six yards out from Rigg's cross but, despite having two bites of the cherry, he failed to find a way past Stevens, who threw himself in the way to keep his side ahead.
With a minute to go, Fondop showed the home side how it's done, as a clinical finish killed the game off.
Another long ball forward saw O'Leary this time head away, but to his misfortune it landed straight at the feet of substitute Kynan Isaac. His first time ball forward was perfect for the Oxford number nine, who superbly curled the ball in with his back to goal from 25 yards past the stranded keeper.