Match Report - Oxford City (Away - League)
By David Hamlet
Rebels play-off hopes still alive
0 - 1 (6m, Warren Harris); 1 - 1 (41m,Pen, Kabongo Tshimanga); 1 - 2 (83m, George Wells); 1 - 3 (87m, Francis Amartey)
Oxford City: Craig King (GK); Eddie Jones; John O'Donoghue (71m, Ryan Case); Jack Self; Tarik Moore-Azille; Joe Oastler (C); Kyron Wiltshire; Reece Fleet; Kabongo Tshimanga; Brandon Thomas-Asante (67m, Zac McEachran); Bobson Bawley (67m, Owen James).
Unused Substitutes: Steven Caro (GK); Craig Fasanmade
Slough Town: Jack Turner (GK); Sean Fraser; George Wells; Sam Togwell (C); Mark Nisbet; Lee Togwell (56m, Manny Williams); Billy Clifford (56m, Danny Roberts); Matty Lench; Simon Dunn; Francis Amartey; Warren Harris (81m, Louie Soares)
Unused substitutes: Josh Jackman
STFC Match Report written by Will Tuck
On a day when it felt like summer had come early, Slough continued their excellent recent form and came away with all three points to extend their unbeaten run to eight and keep their slim hopes of a play-off spot alive.
Warren Harris opened the scoring before two excellent strikes from George Wells and Francis Amartey in the second half put the seal on a third straight National League South victory which lifts National League South's form side up to 9th place, just three points off the final play-off place.
Conditions were tough for both sides, with the pitch radiating the heat, forcing referee Steven Hughes to stop the game on a few occasions to give the players a water break.
Slough made one change from last weekend’s win against Welling, with Sean Fraser replacing Josh Jackman at right back. Oxford City brought in John O’Donohue for John Ashby, and could boast Kabongo Tshimanga in their line-up, who had 23 league goals this season before the start of play.
Slough nearly had an opening goal from an unusual source. Jack Turner’s long kick forward nearly caught out his opposite number Craig King in the Oxford goal, with the keeper having to back-pedal to catch the ball a yard in front of the goal line.
But on six minutes, the Rebels did take the lead. A cross-field ball from Matt Lench saw Warren Harris flick a header around his defender and into space to run towards goal. Taking a touch to set himself, from 22 yards out Harris struck the ball hard across the face of the goal and into the bottom corner.
Slough were looking good for a second not long after, when Francis Amartey did well to hold off three defenders, turning side to side to create room for himself. He then spotted the overlap from Lench who beat another defender before shooting from a tight angle, but King was equal to it.
On 27 minutes Slough thought they had a second when Wells put the ball in the net, however the referee gave Oxford City a free kick instead. From the corner, the ball dropped in the six yard box with the referee adjudging Amartey to have fouled King.
On the half hour mark the hosts had their first shot on goal. With their attackers being frustrated by the lack of chances, right back Eddie Jones tried a looping effort but saw the ball bounce off of the roof of the net, prompting a water break to be called.
A few minutes after the refreshments, Amartey again found himself fronted by several defenders. Turning left then right, he tried to find some space before shooting but his effort was deflected over for a corner.
Slough were dealt a blow on 40 minutes when Billy Clifford bundled Reece Fleet over just inside the box, leading to the award of a penalty to City. Top scorer Tshimanga stepped up and confidently struck the ball into the bottom right corner, with Turner diving the other way, to level the scores at the break.
The away side immediately fashioned a chance in the opening minute of the second half. Harris brought the ball down and shot on the turn, but he was smothered by Oxford City defenders.
Two minutes later, Oxford had a great chance to take the lead. Mark Nisbet’s header back to Turner lacked power and Tshimanga was able to intercept, but his effort was off target as Turner made himself as big as possible to put him off.
Slough had a shout for a penalty when Lench went down amongst a scramble in the box, but the referee waved play on. The Rebels then made a double substitution as Lee Togwell and Billy Clifford were replaced by Manny Williams and Dan Roberts, Slough going for it with three attacking players.
But Slough needed Turner to be at his best on 65 minutes to keep them level, as he produced the best save of the match. Nisbet lost possession in his own box and Tshimanga was on hand to drive in a shot, but Turner got a strong hand on the ball to turn it behind.
Then twice in two minutes Lench and Williams combined well down the left hand side, but on each occasion Williams’s low cross travelled across the face of the goal, crying out for any kind of touch to put it in.
Slough went close to breaking the deadlock with Harris flicking a Wells cross wide, and Roberts seeing a shot blocked. Then with ten minutes remaining, a Lench free kick was fumbled by King, but Nisbet sliced his attempted bicycle kick wide.
Then on 84 minutes the away end erupted as George Wells emphatically put the Rebels ahead.
Slough had worked the ball up to the 18 yard box, but no one was able to find space for a shot until Williams laid the ball off to the left-back, who unleashed a rocket into the top corner. King had absolutely no chance as the ball flew past him in a blink of an eye.
It wasn’t the final say though, as Amartey decided it was his turn to put on a show. Just four minutes after taking the lead, a long ball forward saw King in a foot race with the striker for the ball. Amartey got there first and shielded the ball before scooping it around the keeper, leaving him on the floor. Amartey then brought it towards goal, stopping once to let a defender slide past him and leaving him on the floor too before looking up at the last defender on the line and passing the ball to one side of him - another goal of the season contender.