Sunday, 9 September 2012

MATCH REPORT: Oxford City 2-2 Altrincham

Ten-man Oxford City earned a hard-won point at home to Altrincham on Saturday. City trailed at the break after Altrincham's Damien Reeves scored from the penalty spot, with City captain Chris Wilmott being sent off for the challenge.

But the hosts struck back with two quick fire strikes from Declan Benjamin and Steve Basham early into the second half, before Altrincham again levelled the scores from the penalty spot with half an hour still to play.

Altrincham started the brighter of the two teams and had the ball in the net after just fifteen minutes when Jack Mills turned the ball into his own net from Richard Clee's ball into the box. However, the goal was ruled out for offside and City were able to breathe again.

But City did fall behind five minutes before the half, when the dangerous Damien Reeves was felled by Chris Wilmott inside the six-yard box as he was about to pull the trigger. Referee David Woolford pointed to the spot and produced a red card for Wilmott, before Reeves stepped up to expertly convert the spot-kick.

However, the ten men of Oxford City responded emphatically after the break, equalising six minutes into the half when half-time substitute Felipe Barcelos played in Declan Benjamin to coolly slot past Stuart Coburn in the Altrincham goal.

Barely a minute later City found themselves in front. The visitors wastefully surrendered possession immediately from the kick-off, and Steve Basham found himself in space 25 yards from goal. The former Oxford United hitman unleashed a beautiful curling shot past the helpless 'keeper to give the hosts an unlikely 2-1 lead.

Unfortunately, City were unable to hold onto their lead and Altrincham levelled the scores four minutes later after Reeves was clumsily tripped in the box by Paul Stonehouse. The Alty striker again stepped up and powered the ball past City goalkeeper Warren Carter to score his 11th goal of the season.

The visitors continued to press forward as City's ten men began to tire and Carter was forced to make some impressive saves. Altrincham almost retook the lead when James Lawrie struck the post and Wayne Blossom fearlessly threw himself in front of the rebound to maintain parity.

But despite Altrincham's pressure the Oxford City defence held firm to cling onto a hard-earned point and put them eighth in the Conference North.

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