In Pablo Haysham’s absence Kynan Isaac moved upfield and George
Seacole started on the left, and it was Isaac who went close first as he whipped a right-foot shot just past Jamie Jackson’s upright in the second minute. And Seacole looked likely to edge the home side in front on five minutes as a strong run took him into a good position before an excellent tackle from Dan Bailey halted the attack.
Nomads were looking the stronger side in the early exchanges and Holyport were having to defend in numbers and depth and hope for a positive outcome from the occasional counter, though the home side were indebted to Joel Meade for a quick recovery and tackle as Jamie Wright gathered a misplaced pass and broke clear on ten minutes.
Jemaine Ferriera twice put in good shots on goal, one headed behind by Matt Rolfe and the other palmed over the bar by Jackson, before Nomads finally took a deserved lead on twenty minutes. Conor McDonagh’s pass released Isaac in the left-hand channel and he rode two hefty challenges before getting away a shot that Jackson did well to save with his feet. The ball spun clear to the edge of the penalty area where McDonagh kept a cool head and planted a right-foot shot into the corner of the net.
Within a minute Nomads might have doubled their lead as Jackson saved well from McDonagh and the Nomads’ front man headed the resultant corner firmly against the crossbar.
Nomads continued to attack at pace and several half-chances were produced, the best when a combination of Morris and Isaac transferred to ball from one box to the other in a matter of seconds.
Ben Sturgess curled in a useful-looking free kick from the left for the visitors, but a Nomads’ head cleared the danger; and a deflection allowed Steve Deverell to make ground towards Nomads’ goal before Kamran Abbasi dispossessed him.
This was almost the last of Deverell’s involvement in the game as a few minutes later he received a hotly contested red card for a tackle on Albi Skendi near the half-way line.
Keeping up the momentum, but held at bay by weight of numbers, Nomads had to wait till the 39th minute to stretch their lead when McDonagh timed his run perfectly to beat the offside trap and race on to finish clinically with a right-foot shot just inside the post as Jackson advanced to narrow the angle.
With the half nearing completion both sides had chances for goals. For Holyport Lee Hawkins eluded the defence to collect a bouncing ball, but his lobbed shot dropped gently into Alan Foster’s gloves, while for Nomads Skendi latched onto a weak clearance and lashed a shot just wide of the mark.
: Oxford City Nomads 2-0 Holyport
From the kick-off Isaac drew a foul on the edge of the box and James
Dobson’s well-struck free kick eluded the wall, but not Jackson.
Nomads maintained a fast a tempo and constantly varied the angle of attack, and it was mainly through occasional misplaced passes in midfield that Holyport were able to produce any attacks of significance, and, even then, Alan Foster was almost totally untroubled by any shots, with the defenders efficiently ushering attacks away from the danger area.
The home side produced several good chances in the third quarter, none better than when the combined heads of McDonagh, Abbasi and Ferreira all just failed to get the crucial touch to Dobson’s free kick delivered with pace and swing from the left. McDonagh shot high when clear, and then drew a good save from Jackson; Rolfe came within a whisker of scoring an own-goal as he stretched to meet Isaac’s cross, and Ferreira went near to the angle of post and bar with a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area.
In the 72nd minute Josias Carbon’s pass opened up the defence for McDonagh and he squared the ball hard and low for Ben Moses to beat Jackson from close range.
Three minutes later and good running off the ball allowed Louis Joyce, just on for Dobson, to control the ball near the by-line and pull it back for McDonagh to send a left-foot shot across Jackson and into the goal via the far post to complete his fifth hat-trick of the campaign.
Holyport stuck to their defensive tasks well, and solid tackling and a tendency to over-elaborate by the home side meant several highly promising attacks came to naught before the final goal of the afternoon arrived on 83 minutes.
Pressure of numbers kept Nomads entrenched around a packed penalty area until eventually the ball was worked out to Jemaine Ferreira on the right and his curling centre was met firmly on the volley by Joyce near the penalty spot to give Jackson no chance.
In the dying minutes the energetic Joyce might have added to his total as he sprinted onto McDonagh’s pass and hit a low drive that Jackson at full length pushed around the post.
Oxford City Nomads
: Foster, Carbon, Dobson (Joyce 73)
, Meade (Booker 66)
, Abbasi, Skendi, Ferreira, Morris, McDonagh, Isaac, Seacole (Moses 66)