FOOTBALL: Draw keeps City in line for play-offs

Herald Series: Oxford City keeper Jason Mooney dives to save a penalty against Brackley Oxford City keeper Jason Mooney dives to save a penalty against Brackley

Oxford City need a maximum of four points from three away games in the next six days to secure an Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-off place after drawing 1-1 at home to leaders Brackley Town on Saturday.

That point was enough to see Brackley promoted to Blue Square Conference South as champions.

Whether City join them there depends on a series of matches in the next two weeks.

City, currently in the fourth and final play-off spot, are level on points with AFC Totton, Cambridge City and Stourbridge, all of whom have just one match to play.

Mike Ford’s side try for the third time tonight to play their twice-postponed match at Hemel Hempstead.

Then on Wednesday they travel to play Frome, before finishing their programme at Hitchin Town on Satuday. The ball is very much in their court after their point against Brackley, earned courtesy of a penalty save from keeper Jason Mooney.

City got off to a dream start as they went ahead after just three minutes Mooney’s trademark clearance went deep into the opponents area.

Brackley’s former Oxford United keeper Billy Turley came out to meet the ball, but his ex-teammate at the Kassam Stadium, Steve Basham, got there first and stroked it home.

Ten minutes later, Brackley were level. City failed to cut out a cross and Owen Storey headed home at the far post.

Neither side dominated a keenly-contested game.

Former City player Elliott Sandy collected a ball from Carl Palmer, but fired over a good chance.

Brackley had several narrow escapes.

Another former Oxford United player, Marvin Robinson, got back to head away a dangerous cross that was heading for Basham.

Brackley were awarded a penalty six minutes after the break, following pushing and shoving in the City penalty area following a corner.

Sandy saw his spot-kick saved by Mooney who turned it round a post.

Mooney then touched over a dangerous shot from James Ashton for a corner.

Oxford City: Mooney, Clarke, Learoyd, Ballard, Skendi, (Bell 68), Blossom, Lyon, Lyon, Benjamin, Basham (McDonagh 86), Woodley (Barcelos 71), Martin. Sub not used: McCloughlin.

Attendance: 535.

THIS WEEK’S KEY MATCHES.

Tonight: Hemel Hempstead v Oxford City.

Wednesday: Frome Tn v Oxford City.

Saturday: AFC Totton v Bedford, Cambridge City v Swindon Supermarine, Frome Tn v Stourbridge, Hitchin Tn v Oxford City, Leamington v Chesham Utd.

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