Neil Baker and Jon Underwood stuck with the team which beat Hampton & Richmond in midweek. Matt Lench made his 100th appearance for the Rebels, becoming the 11th player in the current squad to do so.
Slough started the game well and were nearly gifted the lead early on when Joe Oastler flicked on Max Worsfold’s cross, with the ball narrowly avoiding the far post.
The game then settled and chances were hard to come by. It wasn’t until the 14th minute that either side had a look at goal. A Slough corner was met by Sam Togwell but his effort was blocked with the ball coming to the edge of the box for Lee Togwell to shoot, but two Oxford players threw themselves in the way.
A few long throws from Guy Hollis were won by the Rebels but the Oxford goal remained safe.
The closest Slough came to scoring all match was on 26 minutes. Warren Harris was bundled to the floor on the edge of the box, setting up a hockey-like short corner. Worsfold whipped the ball in low and soon a scramble ensued. George Wells and Ryan Bird both had a few attempts blocked by the mass of bodies before an Oxford boot was able to clear the ball.
A few minutes later another deflected header from the Oxford defence wrongfooted Craig King in goal, but he was relieved to see the ball once again go across goal and wide.
There was more pressure from Slough but no one in an amber shirt was able to really test the goalkeeper.
And then on 42 minutes, completely against the run of play, Oxford got their goal. Reece Fleet brought the ball forward looked to pick out a striker with his cross, but instead hit Ryan Bird’s head. Knowing little about it, he was left to watch as Jack Turner was caught out and beaten.
The second half started with Slough quickly having to make a change, George Wells off for Sean Fraser with Jackman moving over to left back. Not long after came a change in formation, with Sam Togwell dropping into defence whilst Ryan Bird went up front.
City, content with their lead dropped back and countered when they could. From one counter Kevin Berkoe forced Turner into a good save.
Slough were still pushing but struggled to create clear opportunities. Good play by Josh Jackman and Max Worsfold down the left allowed the latter to whip in a dangerous cross which begged for any touch to turn it in.
A few minutes later, Warren Harris was in down the right but was unable to pick out Bird whose defender did well to stay in front of him.
Oxford nearly doubled their lead on 61 minutes. A break down the right by Kyran Wiltshire ended in a low cross which was recovered by Zac McEachran on the left. McEachran hit a firm low effort which nearly beat Turner who was scrambling across goal, however, with cat-like reflexes Turner stuck out a leg to produce a magnificent save.
Back down the other end, King flapped at a corner but enough to prevent Sam Togwell a header on goal; instead he was able to lay off Warren Harris but his shot was well blocked.
The Rebels continued pushing forward but struggled to get into the Oxford box with any kind of regularity, save for a few corners and long throws.
Jack Turner was called upon again in the 80th minute when substitute Kyran Lofthouse broke free.
With the 90 minutes nearly over, Worsfold played the ball forward to Bird in the box with his back to goal. Bird was able to turn and chip the ball across goal to Sam Togwell whose header was blocked before Jackman had a shot from the edge of the box which went narrowly over the bar.
With five minutes of injury time shown, the Rebels had one final chance as Sam Togwell cushioned a header for Matt Lench, but he dragged his shot wide of the goal and with that the final chance was gone.
Oxford City could and really should have made it 2-0 in the final few seconds. Jack Turner came well out of his box to claim the ball but then lost it, with the ball squirming out to Lofthouse about 40 yards from goal out on the right-hand side. With an empty net he was unable to replicate the efforts of Ben Harris or Scott Davies and the ball flew wide of the post.
Results elsewhere meant that Slough held on to second place ahead of the midweek matches.
Report: Will Tuck
Image: Philip Benton
Oxford City Line up
Craig King, Eddie Jones, Ben Jefford, Josh Ashby, Tarik Moore-Azile, Joe Oaster ©, Kyran Wiltshire (Kyran Lofthouse 76), Reece Fleet, Elliot Benyon (Jaanai Gordon 89), Zac McEachran (AJ George 80), Kevin Berkoe. Unused substitutes: Nana Owusu, Alan Foster.