St Albans City were held to a goalless draw at home by Oxford City on Saturday, keeping them just above the relegation spots in the National League South.

A late red card for Oxford skipper Joe Oastler was the game’s main talking point, after his reaction to a challenge with David Longe-King was deemed worthy of a second yellow.

Other than that, it was a fairly drab and altogether frustrating afternoon at Clarence Park, with neither side able to find a breakthrough.

Storm Dennis more than contributed to the game’s lack of quality, but Joe Iaciofano had no one to blame other than himself for striking the bar from close range in the opening exchanges.

Zane Banton slipped Lewis Gordon in to the left of the penalty area and the out-on-loan Watford winger’s cutback was thumped against the woodwork by Iaciofano from just outside the six-yard-box.

Iaciofano was guilty of spurning another opportunity from close range shortly after when a David Noble delivery from the right was flicked into his path by Solomon Nwabuokei, only for the number nine to fire well over with a half-volley.

Noble tried his luck next with the home side on the front foot, but his side-footed effort from outside the area was unable to force Rohdell Gordon’s cut back in at the near post, with Oxford goalkeeper Craig King quick to get his body behind the shot.

At the other end the blustery conditions were making more of an impact and almost gifted the visitors an opening goal when Josh Ashby’s corner was carried goalwards by a strong gust, only for Dean Snedker’s quick reactions to keep the ball out.

The weather was not the only source of generosity for Oxford, as a mix-up between Snedker and Longe-King almost presented Elliot Benyon with an open goal, but some resourceful recovery work from the pair saw them scramble the loose ball to safety.

After failing to benefit from gifted chances, the visitors set about creating some of their own, as they seized momentum.

A downfield march from Ashby down the left resulted in the ball being worked to Zac McEachran on the edge of the area, via Eddie Jones, but the striker’s effort zipped wide of the post, with Snedker rooted to his line.

St Albans finished the game the stronger of the two sides after emerging unscathed from Oxford’s sustained period of pressure and Longe-King had a glorious chance to put them ahead just before the break.

The defender rose highest to meet a corner with his head, but he failed to get over the ball and his shot was well over.

The second-half continued in more or less the same fashion, with neither side able to really put themselves in the driving seat.

Oxford’s Reece Fleet had two decent chances to find the net, but went well wide with his first shot and put his second straight into the gloves of Snedker.

With the game meandering towards the seemingly inevitable goalless conclusion, frustration began to set in to both sides.

King was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card for the away side when he kicked out at Tom Bender following a corner.

The referee’s lenience meant the keeper was still on the pitch to tip Noble’s dipping effort wide of the post.

However, there was no escaping the early bath for Oastler soon after, as he was given a second yellow for reacting to Longe-King’s challenge.