A late City rally came too late to earn a point in Cornwall, as Truro clung on to a 3-2 victory. City came into the game having lost James Roberts and Robbie Cundy back to Oxford United at the end of their loan spells. This therefore prompted two enforced changes; Godfrey Poku replaced Cundy at centre half, and Tom Winters came in for Roberts out on the wing.
Truro started the game in the ascendancy, taking just three minutes to open the scoring, Ryan Brett receiving the ball on the left hand side of the box and smashing home confidently across Ty Belford’s goal. City then attempted to gain a foothold in the game, Tom Winters attempting a very tricky lob over ‘keeper Martin Rice, who had left his line, only managing to fire well over the bar.
Truro remained on the front foot however, a free kick from wide nearly finding Belford’s bottom corner after floating through several bodies, the City stopper pulling out a save at the last to prevent them doubling the lead. The resulting corner did see the White Tigers grab a second goal. On 15 minutes, a loose ball in the six yard box was bundled over the line by Andrew Neal, leaving City with an uphill struggle to save the game.
For the remainder of the first half, City generally held the majority of the territory and possession. A cross field ball from Josh Ashby to find Winters was a clear highlight, however a mix of wasteful attacking and a very organised Truro defence meant the hosts went into the break 2-0 up.
City started the second half as they ended the first, getting in and around the Truro box without success, this however leaving City vulnerable to the counter attack. Truro made the most of this in the 52nd minute, a run up the left wing seeing a ball find Dan Smith around the penalty spot, to slot home to put the hosts 3-0 up.
This prompted a reaction from City boss Mark Jones, who made a triple substitution after an hour, with Scott Davies, Stephane Ngamvoulou and Winters making way for Shaun MacAuley, Mike Fondop and Matt Peake-Pijnen. The latter almost made an immediate impact, getting the ball on the left and driving a ball across goal prompting an excellent clearing header which was put out for a City corner.
City were rewarded for their pressure in the 64th minute, Fondop getting on the end of a Lee Henderson ball and finding MacAuley with his back to goal. With a moment of magic, MacAuley flicked the ball through the legs of both a defender and the unsighted ‘keeper Rice to pull a goal back for City. The Hoops continued to pile the pressure on for the remaining half an hour, and whilst a few scares saw Truro break, it thankfully came to nothing, and City pulled another back in the 90th minute.
Jefferson Louis was chopped down outside the box to the left, and a whipped free kick from Peake-Pijnen found the head of Fondop who nodded it just out of reach of Rice to make it 3-2 with 5 added minutes left. City piled men forward for the remaining minutes; a half appeal for a penalty was turned down by referee Sam Purkiss, and another chance across goal ended up in the grateful arms of Rice. But time was running out and the referee soon blew up, leaving City to rue missed opportunities.
Josh Ashby was named Supporters Man of the Match after the game, for an energetic performance in midfield, and the three substitutes, Matt Peake-Pijnen, Shaun MacAuley and Mike Fondop all played their part in a spirited fight back in the last 30 minutes.
Oxford City Manager, Mark Jones, was disappointed with how The Hoops started the game:
"Overall a disappointing result for us, obviously a very very poor start to the game which really hampered us. You can't afford to be 2-0 down after 15 minutes away from home and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb."
"We dominated possession - we probably had close to 70% possession throughout the game - but I don't think we really did enough with it. The performance was littered with mistakes throughout the 90 minutes which was very frustrating and we quite often made unforced errors. I expected better, I expected more quality from us in possession of the ball but we didn't quite have it today."
"I felt that we were getting back into the game second half and the 3rd goal was always going to be crucial but then unfortunately we gave away another poor goal. Its another mistake really and then at 3-0 down you're always going to be struggling. I am pleased to say that we did show a bit of spirit to try and get back into it – we obviously managed to pull it back to 3-2, we kept going and I think that towards the end they were hanging on for dear life. They were saved by the whistle in the end – I think if the game had gone on another eight minutes or so we would have got the equaliser." "Overall today we made too many mistakes, too many unforced errors and we had too many players who didn't really play to the levels they are capable of. That made it very, very difficult for us. It's disappointing and we now need to work really hard this week, through training, and see if we can get a good reaction against Concord Rangers next week. That's going to be a tough game because they're fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table."
The defeat sees City drop one place to 14th, but favourable results elsewhere in the league mean that The Hoops are still 8 points clear of the drop zone. City find themselves on the road again next weekend, with a trip to Canvey Island for a National League South fixture against relegation-threatened Concord Rangers
Oxford City: Belford, Ngathe, Grant, Ashby, Henderson, Poku, Ngamvoulou (Fondop 60), Fleet, Louis, Davies (MacAuley 60), Winters (Peake-Pijnen 60).
Unused Sub: Niate