MATCH REPORT: Weston-super-Mare seal a point on the road after entertaining draw at Oxford City
PUBLISHED: 09:13 23 October 2016 | UPDATED: 09:24 23 October 2016
Weston-super-Mare gained their first point in 11 matches away at Oxford City yesterday (Saturday) as they ground out a 0-0 draw at Marsh Lane.
Oxford City team
Stevens, NGathe, Grant, Ashby, Henderson, Cundy, Fleet, Davies ©, Roberts, Louis, Giles.
Subs: Winters, Ofuso, Fondop, Poku, Isaacs
The Seagulls went into the match having lost the last 10 matches in a row in the National League South and new head coach Scott Bartlett was keen to finally stop the rot.
Before the match, it was clear changes would be made after the Seagulls signed three players in the past week.
Most notably was the absence of captain Clayton Fortune, who did not travel with the squad.
Lloyd Humphries – who has signed on-loan from SkyBet Championship side Cardiff City – made his Seagulls debut in midfield and was one of many players who impressed on the day.
It seemed perhaps before the match there may be some sort of delay after reports of some of the Oxford players being involved in a car accident.
Purnell, Withey, Laird, Humphries, Baldwin, Moran, McClennan, Kington ©, Ash, Powell, Ingram
Subs: Grubb, Bird, Cane, Pope, Barker
Luckily, they were all alright and managed to take their place on the City bench.
With just a point – and one league place – between Oxford and Weston – this could have been billed as an early six-pointer.
This was clear in the early-stages as both sides looked to have a point to prove.
But it was the home side that had the first chance of the match when Louis Jefferson’s header had Luke Purnell beaten.
Luckily for the Seagulls’ keeper the shot sailed just over the bar.
Bartlett told the Mercury he had been working on defensive play in the past week and it was clear to see on the pitch.
Jonny Giles and Jefferson combined well to put pressure on the Weston midfield and broke free into the penalty area.
But Jon Moran pulled off a fantastic slide-tackle to avert any danger. While they were performing well at the back, they were unable to really test goalkeeper Jack Stevens.
But Weston played with more confidence in the second half and the return of Jamie Laird seems to be a real masterstroke by head coach Scott Bartlett.
Ten minutes after the break, James Roberts broke free from the Weston midfield and was clean through on goal but Laird’s fantastic interception with a perfectly-timed tackle showed his experience and composure, which could be crucial for the Seagulls in the coming games.
Both sides had chances to win the game and the lively Joe McClennan troubled Oxford with his pace.
However, his shots could not quite hit the target.
It was an entertaining match between two sides struggling for form but it concluded on a slightly sour note.
Oxford’s captain Scott Davies was given his marching orders late-on after a horror-tackle on Laird.
It was high and cynical and the referee had no choice but to send him off. Laird was down for several minutes but was able to continue.
While it may not have ended in the elusive three points Bartlett was hoping for, the head coach was proud of his players’ performances following a clean sheet away from home.
Most importantly, the Seagulls now have another point to add to their campaign.
Weston take on Hampton and Richmond on Saturday at The Woodspring Stadium and will hope to finally get a win.
Kick-off will be at 3pm.
To re-live all the action, take a look at our live blog from yesterday’s match.
The Mercury also has some exclusive footage from behind-the-scenes at the football club, which you can watch by clicking here.