ROSS Jenkins rued a season of controversial refereeing decisions after his Oxford City team was relegated from the Vanarama National League.

The Hoops, promoted to the National League last year, were playing at the highest level in the club’s history, however a return to the sixth tier of English football was sealed with a 2-1 defeat at AFC Fylde.

Josh Parker gave City the lead after quarter of an hour, but Joe Westley brought the hosts level after an hour, before Nick Haughton netted a sublime free kick with 12 minutes to go.

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Hoops head coach Jenkins told the club’s YouTube channel: “We need to move forward in the right manner. The league is extremely strong, and teams have great structures and really healthy budgets.

“We need to move forward and see if we can change things on and off the pitch, to get back here.

“It’s been a great learning experience for some of the boys as well. Some of the boys haven’t played at this level before.”

The awarding of the free kick from which Haughton scored was a controversial one, after a foul was given against Brooklyn Kabongolo, despite there appearing to be no contact.

Jenkins said: “It’s been overshadowed by a poor refereeing decision in my opinion. It was a scrappy game and it always was going to be with this pitch.

“We had one injury, Jacob Roddy, from it, but it’s really frustrating. I thought we were really good and did the basics really well.

“Being one goal up felt okay, with no problems really, but the decisions have been the story of the season. That second decision really deflates us. It’s never a free kick or a foul, there’s no contact really.

“We’ve got to give him credit, he’s put it in the top corner, but at the same time, these are the moments that we need to go for us, and they haven’t this season.

“The boys have run through walls, and scrapped for the team and the club, and 1-1 would’ve been really fair.

“It was a really bitty game and there wasn’t much in it. The ball was in the air a lot and the pitch wasn’t very good, so there wasn’t much good football being played.”

He added: “Relegation isn’t even on our minds right now, it’s frustration at week in and week out, decisions going against us. We’ve got to address it, and we can’t brush it under the carpet.

“The boys have been absolutely brilliant. Considering the boys are part-time, and coming to Fylde, who are full-time and probably with a healthy budget, there was no disgrace in our performance.

“We’ve come here and battled, and created opportunities and chances, and there’s no disgrace from any of the players because they’ve really ran their socks off, and they’ve been doing it all season.”