A goal late in the second half from Sam Nombe, and goal keeping heroics from Jamal Blackman earned City three points over Oxford United and back-to-back wins.
Following City’s late comeback win over Bristol Rovers, Gary made two changes to the side with Josh Key and Kegs Chauke returning to the starting XI. Another addition was the return of Sam Stubbs to the squad for the first time since August 27.
There was an early scare for City inside the first minute as Oxford attacked straight from their kick-off, forcing Harry Kite into an early challenge, with the midfielder committing a foul 25-yards out. However, Cameron Brannagan was unable to capitalise with his effort hitting the wall.
Six minutes in and City had their first chance of the game, with the ball played out to Jake Caprice on the left-hand side, the wing back hit the Oxford backline with blistering pace. His cross into the box found Key floating at the back post, but his effort blazed over the bar from six yards out.
With nine minutes on the clock, the home side almost took the lead courtesy of a header from Tyler Goodrham, but a world class save from Jamal Blackman from close range kept City level, with the ball bouncing behind for a corner.
Midway through the first-half, City gave away lots of possession allowing Oxford lots of time on the ball, but the City defence lead by Sweeney still standing strong.
With 30 minutes played on the clock, Gary made his first change of the game. After going down with an injury only minutes before Jevani Brown was replaced by Jack Sparkes, with what looks more like a precautionary change with 13 days until the next game.
Alex Hartridge became the saviour for City in the 40th minute, with Oxford in behind the City defence again the left sided centre half blocked a cross from Djavan Anderson with a number of Oxford players waiting in the box.
In the dying embers of the first half, it was the post that came to City’s rescue this time. Oxfords Matty Taylor on the spin struck the ball with conviction, leaving Blackman unmoved, but the ball cannoned off the post and away from goal. City very much living on the edge in the opening 45.
The second half took a little while to warm up, but in the 56th minute we saw the first proper chance. It was the home side with the effort, but Blackman again came to the rescue making an exceptional save to keep the score level.
With just over 60 minutes played, Gary made his second change of the game, this change a slightly more attacking one than the first. Jay Stansfield was introduced to the game with Kegs Chauke coming off for the final 30.
The introduction of Stansfield caused immediate problems for Oxfords defence with City’s first shot on target in the game coming soon after he entered the pitch. Link up play between the front three and Caprice down the right-hand side led to the ball falling to Key in the middle of the penalty area but a culmination of Nombe and Oxfords keeper stopped City from taking the lead.
70 minutes played and it was Key again who had the chance to take the lead for City. A lovely run down the right-hand side from Stansfield eventually led to a low driven cross to Key in the middle but after rounding the keeper his shot was blocked by an Oxford defender.
With the game running out of time, the away end erupted into raucous applause. From an Oxford corner Caprice picked up the ball on the edge of his own area, ran half the pitch to then play in Stansfield, his effort was comfortably saved by Edward McGinty, but there in waiting was Nombe who slotted the ball away to give City the lead and net his 11th league goal of the season.
Not long after the goal and for the seventh game running Sparkes got his name taken by the referee and was awarded another yellow card.
In very quick succession two more City players received yellow cards, this time Stansfield and Collins getting cautioned, doing everything they can for the team to hold onto the lead and a big three points.
City are next in action on Saturday, January 14 against Forest Green Rovers at home in a 3pm kick-off.
City XI: Blackman, Key, Sweeney ©, Diabate, Hartridge, Caprice, Collins, Kite, Chauke (Stansfield), Brown (Sparkes), Nombe (Dieng)
Subs not used: Lee, Stubbs, Jay, Grounds
Oxford United XI: McGinty, Long, Moore ©, Brannagan, Taylor (O’Donkor), Bate, Brown, McGuane, Goodrham (Bodin), Wildschut (Murphy), Anderson (Findlay)
Subs not used: Plumley, Johnson, Seddon.
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Attendance: 8604 (619 away)