YORK City well and truly love a late winner after Will Davies’ stoppage-time strike earned the Minstermen a 2-1 victory at Oxford City.

Dipo Akinyemi had fired York ahead on the brink of half-time from close-range, latching onto a loose ball into the Oxford area.

Some poor defending from City allowed Oxford an opening on the hour mark, with Aaron Williams-Bushell coolly slotting home from within the box.

But with time running out on Neal Ardley’s men, substitute Will Davies pounced onto a loose ball in the area to earn the Minstermen a crucial three points in the Vanarama National League.

The victory sees York rise to 16th in the fifth tier, with 33 point from 28 matches, as City extended their unbeaten run in the division to eight matches.

Ardley responded to a 16-day break from competitive action by making two changes to that York side that claimed a late 1-1 draw with Boreham Wood in early December.

Michael Duckworth was brought into the starting eleven in place of the absent Thierry Latty-Fairweather, whilst Davies dropped to the bench in place of Paddy McLaughlin.

Finlay Barnes was also brought into the squad after impressing Ardley in training, but the midfielder wasn’t brought on to earn his first competitive minutes for the club since joining in the Summer.

Furthermore, City were without Maz Kouhyar after the club announced that the popular winger had returned to Vanarama National League North outfit Hereford on an initial one-month loan deal, whilst Dan Batty and Callum Harriott continue their programmes to return to full fitness.

Oxford were forced to field a weakened eleven themselves due to injuries to Josh Ashby and Zac McEachran, and the recent recalls of loanees Jack Bycroft and Olly Sanderson.

Chris Haigh was handed a start between the sticks whilst Aaron Williams-Bushell was brought into the starting side, with Oxford switching their usual shape to a four at the back formation.

Ardley had made it clear pre-match that he wouldn’t be using the wet and windy conditions as an excuse, opting to play into the conditions for the first forty-five.

York enjoyed the majority of the possession in the early stages, and almost took advantage of their pressure with Akinyemi rattling the woodwork with a venomous effort, following some clever footwork from Billy Chadwick.

City had consecutive corners dealt with by the hosts, before Duckworth produced a expert crunching challenge to deny Aaron Williams-Bushell an opportunity on goal.

Chadwick looked to open his account for the club with a strike from the edge of the area, but to no prevail with Oxford bravely blocking the effort.

And the Minstermen would maintain their pressure with McLaughlin being denied from close-range by Haigh, before Chadwick’s follow-up effort was again blocked by an Oxford body.

Adam Crookes then saw a header fall narrowly wide of the target, before Scott Burgess’ stinging strike deflected onto the outside of the post again for York.

But with the match looking to headed into the break level, the visitors took advantage of an opportunity with Akineymi striking the Minstermen ahead.

Chadwick’s initial shot forced a fantastic stop by Haigh, before the loose ball was pounced upon by a lurking Akinyemi, seeing the City talisman enter double figures for the campaign.

Oxford had perhaps sensed at half-time that they had to make a change to be able to claim anything from the match, and opted to risk McEachran from the bench, shortly after the midfielder’s return from injury.

And McEachran would be involved early on, following a missed opportunity by Chadwick, with the Oxford man crossing into the path of Parker who could only steer his strike wide of Sykes-Kenworthy’s goal.

But with the hosts introducing their prized asset, the midfielder began to pull the strings when picking out Jacob Rody in a dangerous area, whose low cross found an unmarked Williams-Bushell to slide the ball into the far corner.

York weren’t able to generate the same amount of pressure as they had in the first-half with Oxford enjoying the majority of possession, but were again denied by the woodwork.

An audacious long-ranged effort from Fallowfield by the half-way line beat Haigh between the sticks, but was kept out by the crossbar before Callum Howe powered the follow-up onto the roof of the net.

Howe was again involved as his short back-pass was latched onto by substitute Ashby, whose cross was first met by an onrushing Nya Kirby, but kept out by Sykes-Kenworthy, before captain Reece Fleet bent his strike narrowly wide.

Lenell John-Lewis was introduced in place of Billy Chadwick and found an opening with an over the top through ball, but couldn’t beat Haigh from close-range.

Haigh would continue to frustrate the visitors when keeping out a long-ranged cross-shot from Burgess, and tipping a goalbound cross from Fallowfield over his crossbar.

But with the fourth official revealing that there would be just two minutes stoppage time, the Minstermen provided another late show for those travelling supporters.

A loose ball fell to a lurking Davies in the area, who hammered his strike into the ground before seeing the ball find the roof of the net, earning York a crucial three points in the National League.

Next up for York is a trip to Hartlepool United on Saturday, January 27 (3pm) to take on newly-hired Kevin Phillips.

York City: Sykes-Kenworthy 6, Fallowfield 7, Howe 6, Smith 6, Crookes 7, Duckworth 6 (Kennedy 6, 72), Woodyard 6, McLaughlin 6, Burgess 6, Akinyemi 7 (Davies 7, 63), Chadwick 6 (John-Lewis, 78)

Subs not used: Cordner, Barnes

Goals: Akinyemi (45+1), Davies (90+2)

Oxford City: Haigh, Burley, Roberts, Carroll, Williams-Bushell, Roddy, Fleet, Kirby, Humphrey-Ewers (Ashby, 70), Fisher (McEachran, 46), Parker

Subs not used: Toure, Fonkeu, Croker

Goals: Williams-Bushell (61)

Yellow cards: Fleet (75)

York’s star man: Will Davies. He loves a goal against Oxford City! The striker came off of the bench to claim an important three points for the visiting City.

Referee: Matthew Russell

Attendance: N/A

Shots (on target): 4 (3) | 6 (5)

Corners:  3 | 9

Offsides: 2 | 3

Fouls committed: 8 | 5