FOOTBALL: City secure great escape, despite derby-day defeat

Oxford City's Darren Mullings is mobbed after firing them ahead against Brackley Town

Oxford City's Darren Mullings is mobbed after firing them ahead against Brackley Town

First published in Football

Oxford City preserved their status despite a 2-1 defeat at Brackley Town in yesterday’s derby clash.

Mike Ford’s men were looking for the victory to seal their survival, but in the event, Histon’s 3-1 loss at Gainsborough Trinity meant City stayed up anyway.

The visitors looked to be on their way to victory when Darren Mullings put them in front early in the second half, but the home side hit back through Stefan Moore and Mitchell Austin to seal a comeback win.

The first half was a scrappy affair, the best chances falling to Declan Benjamin after ten minutes.

His effort struck the post after Kayden Jackson had picked him out in a crowded penalty area.

Brackley’s lively forward line caused the City defence some problems, with goalkeeper Matt Bulman called into action to prevent an own goal after a challenge on Steve Diggin headed goalwards.

And Diggins went closest for the hosts, volleying narrowly over from a tight angle after Izak Reid’s cross-field pass found him at the back post.

But City took command after the break, Tom Winters slicing across the face of goal against his old club.

And Mullings fired them into the lead after 53 minutes with his first goal in City colours, unleashing an unstoppable effort from the edge of the area which rocketed into the top corner.

City had looked comfortable, but their lead lasted less than ten minutes as they were punished for characteristically lax defending.

Jackson carelessly gave away possession just inside the home side’s area, allowing a break which culminated in Moore bursting clear in the centre of the pitch to slot past Bulman.

That marked a change in momentum as the home side began to dominate possession, with Ryan Rowe firing narrowly wide from one chance.

And they took the lead just minutes later, Austin robbing Mullings in the middle of the park before shooting low into the bottom corner of the net past Bulman.

City rarely looked like equalising in the final stages, but results elsewhere meant they were able to celebrate avoiding the drop with the travelling supporters who stayed long after the final whistle to serenade the players and management.

Oxford City: Bulman, Benjamin, Stonehouse, Pook, Henderson, Preece (Willmott HT), O’Hanlon (Solomon-Otabor HT), Mullings, Jackson, Pond (Basham 77), Winters. Subs not used: Ballard, Cook.

Ref: M D’Aguilar.

Attendance: 430.

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