FC Oswestry Town v City

The points were shared yesterday with a 3-3 draw at FC Oswestry Town after an open and entertaining game. For the second game in a row, City started very slowly and were under the cosh in the early stages with Ballantyne making one outstanding save as he clawed the ball away from behind him. The game then changed suddenly as City surged forward and Simpson should have finished off an excellent move, before Errington’s lob just cleared the cross-bar.

City then took the lead in the 25th minute with an excellent free-kick from Lee Hoolickin on his club debut. Just four minutes later, it was 2-0 as James Earl comfortably converted a penalty after a foul in the Oswestry box. This was the score at the break and City looked in pole position to be taking home the points but, as happened in this game last year, the second half was a different story.

City began quite well after the break and Addison should have added a third when he broke clean through but volleyed wildly over the bar. The turning point of the game probably came in the 59th minute when Cherry moved ahead of Jones to intercept before appearing to be clearly fouled and left in some discomfort on the ground. The referee continued to play on and Farleigh’s shot went in despite the best efforts of Ballantyne who got a hand on the ball. Errington was booked for his protests, and yet the protest seemed a perfectly valid one to make.

City then let their focus drift and within two minutes it was 2-2 as Yang’s seemingly mis-hit shot eluded Ballantyne and crept into the corner of the net. City’s capitulation at this stage was frustrating and the home side added a third in the 75th minute when a right-wing corner was poorly defended and Thomas could hardly miss from six yards out. City’s woes were then compounded as Earl was shown a straight red card for foolishly kicking out at Yue.

To their credit, City’s remaining ten players dug in and continued to fight for a point. Their job looked harder in the 80th minute when referee Cropp awarded an incredibly harsh-looking penalty against Short for an alleged handball. Justice was possibly done when Ballantyne saved to his left from Farleigh’s weak spot-kick. This spurred City forward, and Errington equalised on 82 minutes when his weak low shot somehow squirmed through the hands of Mackin, who should surely have saved it.

Towards the end, City could have won it when substitute Tose saw his close-range shot blocked by a defender, and Errington was even closer as his goal-bound effort somehow deflected over the bar. Having said that, City were indebted to keeper Ballantyne for a series of great saves during the 90 minutes.

TEAMS- FC OSWESTRY- Mackin, Yang, M T Jones, Shone, Pickering, Sumner, Yue, Thomas, Meradith, R Jones, Farleigh SUBS- D Tinsley, Spridgeon, Celetto, Butcher, G Tinsley
CITY- Ballantyne, Allison, Hoolickin, Addison, Short, Cherry, McCartney, Simpson, Errington, Earl, Renyard SUBS- Armstrong, Heath, Tose, Allan
REFEREE- B Cropp

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