Concord Rangers v Oxford City
Oxford made possession count on a sunny afternoon at Concord Rangers writes Chris Clark
Oxford City on a good run of form in the Vanarama South started the 1st half in fine style with all players comfortable with the ball at their feet and with a willingness to switch play at every opportunity, Concord Rangers had their work cut out.
Concord were content to hold their positions defensively and attack when the chance came. The game sprang to life in the sixteenth minute when after good wide play by King for Oxford City, Mukendi headed against the bar. Concord immediately sprang from defence to attack and Steve Cawley attacked down the right hand side and his cross could not be diverted home by the on-rushing Ben Greenhalgh.
As the 1st half rolled on under golden September sunshine, Oxford were probing but with no real threat… however that all changed on thirty-six minutes. Luke Coulson cut in from the right and pinged in a shot with his left foot, McNamara parried but unfortunately right to the feet of LaFuente who struck and gave Oxford the lead.
Buoyed from the opening goal, Oxford doubled their lead on forty minutes. Coulson was again the architect, this time he was on the left and he danced round Wood and whipped the ball across the six yard box…could Cornhill clear… no he diverted the ball into his own net.
The referee blew his whistle to end the first half, in a five minute spell Oxford had made their possession count.
Concord 0 Oxford City 2
Concord came out for the 2nd half getting closer to the Oxford City players and the game was a closer contest. However Oxford had the man of the match on the pitch and Luke Coulsdon was creating chances at will on either the left flank or right flank. On fifty-two minutes the winger fired in a shot from 16 yards which hit the inside of the post and somehow stayed out of the back of the net. A few minutes later and the towering Mukendi headed another good opportunity over the bar. Concord needed to liven things up to get back into the game and a double change with Stokes and Doyle coming on, led to the moment in which Concord needed to take advantage off if they were to get anything out of today’s game. Stokes always intelligent in the box, found Lewis Taaffe free on the left hand side of the penalty area, Lewis headed across the goal, but a great save by Walker tipped the ball away. Concord kept the pressure on, and Joe Gardner tested Walker again, but the Oxford keeper was in fine form as he again parried the ball away.
That brief moment of pressure was as good as it got for Concord, as Oxford were impressive on the break with Sterling-James and Coulson on either flank troubling the Concord full-backs. Mukendi at centre forward was a real presence, and to borrow a tired cliché…he had great feet for a big man.
In the final five minutes Oxford were peppering the Concord goal, and Sterling James wamped the post with a lovely curling free kick. Concord were honest, but Oxford were a class apart and they left the Aspect Arena with all three points.
Concord Rangers 0 Oxford City 2
McNamara; Walker, Lee, King, Wood, Cornhill (off64mins), White (capt), Greenhalgh (off 64mins), Gardner; Cawley, Taaffe (off 83mins)
Subs – Stokes on 64mins, Doyle on 64mins, Brayley on 83mins
Morrison, Stephen – Not used.