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FOOTBALL: Oxford City see in the New Year with a bang
ANDY Ballard scored a cracking winner and in-form keeper Matt Ingram saved a penalty as Oxford City celebrated victory for the first time in nine games.
A Tom Winters goal looked to have won the Blue Square North points for Brackley, but two goals in three minutes from Felipe Barcelos and Ballard, followed by Ingram’s heroics, saw City take the derby spoils.
The game had been in doubt the previous day due to heavy rain, but thanks to the work of chairman Brian Cox and volunteers, the pitch was in remarkably good shape.
Gary Mulligan and Elliot Sandy went close to giving Brackley the lead, while at the other end, Jack Mills saw his 25-yard free-kick palmed over by Laurie Walker in the visitors’ goal.
Ingram then clawed away a ferocious 30-yard free-kick from Owen Story, before getting his right hand to a piledriver from Winters.
Barcelos, whose pace caused Brackley problems throughout, went on a mazy run, but saw his shot sail over.
After the break, City turned up the pressure, with Declan Benjamin firing wide after good work from Barcelos.
Ingram then kept out Winters’ powerful drive, before substitute Nick Stanley’s shot flew narrowly wide.
Winters was inches away from giving Brackley the lead, but his free-kick rebounded off the bar with Ingram rooted to his spot.
However, he made no mistake when he gave Brackley the lead, firing in after a poor throw from Ingram.
Brackley should have made it 2-0, but Brett Solkhon somehow headed wide.
And they were made to pay when Barcelos levelled. Brackley failed to get the ball away in a goalmouth scramble and Barcelos pounced, smashing the ball in.
The turnaround was completed when Ballard scored with a super right-footed overhead kick as Brackley again failed to clear their lines.
However, City’s skipper nearly became the villain when he hauled down Brackley sub Marvin Robinson in the area.
Ingram capped a fine display as he plunged to his left to hold onto Steve Diggin’s spot-kick.
Stanley should have made it 3-1, but his shot was saved as Mike Ford’s men held on for a deserved victory.
Oxford City: Ingram, Mills, Learoyd, Willmott, Stonehouse, Ballard, Janes (Stanley H-T), Pond, Benjamin (Mulvany 79), Barcelos, Holgate (Basham 70). Sub not used: Gunn.