A GOAL 90 seconds into injury time by Ryan Lowe gave new manager Keith Curle his first victory, in what hopefully will be a long and successful reign at Chester City.
City's long suspension and injury list meant that Curle was only able to field a patched up side. However, for one of the few times this season the team looked well organised and extremely well-prepared and if that is a hint of what to expect next season, then the beginning of August can't come quick enough.
Today Curle will speak to all of his playing squad individually and inform them whether or not they fit into his plans, irrespective of the individual's contractual situation.
There is no doubt that City have under-achieved this season and changes need to be made. Curle is a no-nonsense type of manager who has already indicated that he is aiming for a top-seven position next season. A commanding goalkeeper and dominant centre-back would appear to be the main priorities, if the play-off dream is to be attained.
It is reasonable to assume that Michael Brown, Carl Regan, Joe O'Neill and Darren Edmondson won't be retained next season and it is expected that at least four other members of the squad may also be told to leave.
At the Kassam Stadium on Saturday, City for most part looked solid defensively and up front they caused problems for the experienced Oxford back-line.
Both managers, Oxford's Brian Talbot who was appointed on Friday, and Curle watched the match from the directors' box and it was the Chester manager who would have been the more satisfied as they ate their prawn sandwiches at the end of the game.
City created the better chances early on, Booth and Drummond both shooting narrowly wide, while the tireless Ben Davies just failed to connect with a cross from Lowe.
Oxford's best chance came when a mistake by Richard Hope let Hackett in, but the striker's effort went over the bar much to the relief of the City defender.
Chester had a let off six minutes from time, a sliced clearance from Bolland hitting the upright before being cleared.
With time running out City grabbed their winner. Substitute Andy Harris played the ball to Lowe, who then raced 30 yards down the right hand flank before cutting inside and drilling the ball home from 10 yards.
This was Lowe's fourth goal since his March transfer from Shrews-bury Town. He is turning out to be an inspired signing and presumably will be an integral part of Curle's planning for next season.
Curle said: "It was pleasing to start my Chester career with a win. The players did well and battled hard for the victory.
"I will be talking to all the play-ers individually next week and we will then start planning for next season."
OXFORD UNITED: Tardif, Mackay (Burton 70), Wanless, Molyneaux, Robinson, Hackett, Quinn, Bradbury, Corbo (Davies 46), Mooney (Beechers 78), Basham. Subs: Clarke, Corminelli.
CHESTER CITY: Mackenzie, Vaughan, Bolland, Hope, Regan, Drummond, B Davies, Carden (Harris 85), M Brown, Lowe, Booth (Walsh 73). Subs: Lynch, Ventre, Brookfield.
REFEREE: Mike Russell (Hertfordshire). ATT: 5,055.