IT’S LATE HORROR FOR CITY HEROES
MARK Jones was left consoling a squad reduced to tears after Jorge Grant’s 95th-minute winner cruelly dumped Oxford City out of the FA Cup at the hands of Notts County.
The National League South outfit battled back through Rob Sinclair and Matt Paterson after twice trailing, with the chances of a replay well and truly alive at Meadow Lane.
But after Richard Duffy’s opener and Jon Stead’s penalty, Grant popped up at the right place in injury-time to leave chief Jones picking bodies off the floor.
“We have to accept the result but it is so tough because we have had players in tears,” he said. "How we are going to get the players over this I don't know because to get so close is heartbreaking.
“But we could not have given any more than we did. A lot of teams would have caved in but we equalised twice and showed tremendous character to come and do that at a stadium like this.
“We were trying to hang on for dear life at the end but football is all about fine margins and it just wasn't to be.
“I think we can be proud of our achievements to get as far as we have.”
The Hoops enjoyed the better of the opening but failed to deal with a corner allowing Duffy to poke home on the half-hour.
The visitors were in raptures when Sinclair fired low on the counter in the second half, though the lead lasted three minutes as Stead converted a penalty when Terry Hawkridge was fouled.
A sublime Paterson finish looked to have earned a replay only for Grant to break their hearts – leaving County boss Kevin Nolan very relieved.
“I thought Oxford City were fantastic and if I was their manager now I’d be very disappointed,” said Nolan. “I would have taken a replay with five minutes to go because they seemed to be getting stronger as the game went on.
“But I am delighted because we never gave in.”
ROB A JOB! Rob Sinclair leads the celebrations after scoring their first goal