Report – Oxford City 3 – 2 Wealdstone
3 - 2
Wealdstone fell to their first defeat in six games in a 3-2 loss on the 3G at Marsh Lane on Saturday in dank conditions. Two goals inside the first eight minutes from Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Zac McEachran gave the hosts the perfect head start and Reece Fleet scored the decisive goal either side of an Abobaker Eisa brace.
Bobby Wilkinson made three changes to the Stones line-up after last week’s late victory over Hungerford Town. Ricky Wellard came in for the suspended Sam Cox, Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick replaced Luke Williams and Mustafa Tiryaki finally made his first league start in place of Shaun Okojie.
But Wealdstone gave the hosts, buoyed by their latest two victories over Colchester United and Chelmsford City, the perfect start, and, at the same time a mountain to climb for themselves.
Miscommunication from Ryan Sellers and Jonathan North allowed Oxlade-Chamberlain, brother of Liverpool midfielder Alex, the perfect opportunity to round the keeper outside of the area and slot into the empty net on five minutes.
Disastrously for Stones that lead was doubled on eight minutes when McEachran, another Oxford player with a sibling in the professional ranks this time at Brentford, played an intricate one-two with Dave Pearce on the edge of the Stones area and slot a well-placed finish past North.
Stones were shell shocked but to their credit responded by hitting the woodwork four minutes later, a deep cross was put in for Tiryaki, who looped a header over Jack Stevens only for it to hit the outside of the post and go out.
Eddie Oshodi was then spared blushes by North after Oxlade-Chamberlain’s deep cross was shouldered toward goal by Oshodi only for the Stones keeper North to alertly tip it wide.
But for the remainder of the half Wealdstone put the Hoops under extreme pressure. Sellers whipped a cross in for Eisa who had his header excellently parried wide from close-range by Stevens.
Stones then repeated the same move on 38 minutes. This time the excellent Sellers placed his cross slightly lower for Eisa and he swept it past Stevens to half Oxford’s lead.
After a bright start to the second period, Wealdstone couldn’t do enough to build on the momentum of the goal, forcing Wilkinson into a triple-substitution but those changes did little to force the equaliser the Stones play probably just about merited.
Full credit has to be given to a resurgent Oxford side whose overall movement and play belied their league position and their ongoing FA Cup run has clearly hugely boosted their confidence
City substitute Fleet wrapped the game up on the 87th minute. A free-kick on the halfway line was gradually played forward into the Stones area with Fleet latching onto the end of a neat ball and placing an easy finish past North.
Remarkably Eisa set up a grand finale just two minutes later when he smashed an excellent swerving effort past Stevens from the edge of the area for his 7th league goal of the campaign, but the Stones failed to create one more clear-cut chance and they were left to rue their defensive mistakes in that torrid first 10 minutes
WEALDSTONE: North, Oshodi, Sellers, Olomowewe, Day, Wellard, Hippolyte-Patrick (Goodger 68), Okimo, Tiryaki (Fitchett 68), Green (Williams 68), Eisa. Subs not used: Brown, Whichelow.
By Chris Woods