A second-half brace from substitute Mark Jones proved the difference as Oxford City went down to a 3-1 defeat against Boston United at York Street in their last match of 2012 on Saturday.
The result extended City’s winless run to eight Blue Square Bet North games.
Boston took the lead after just seven minutes through Marc Newsham, but a point-blank header from Adam Learoyd ensured the two sides went into the break on level terms.
But the introduction of Jones midway through the second half was ultimately City’s undoing.
The substitute put the hosts back in front just minutes after coming on and then securing the points in the dying seconds as City pushed for an equaliser.
City fell behind early on when the pacy Spencer Weir-Daley found space on the left and beat goalkeeper Matt Ingram, only to see his shot get stuck in a muddy patch on the goalline.
Ingram scrambled to claim the ball, but was beaten by the onrushing Newsham who tapped in.
City came more into the match after that setback and as the half wore on began to press for an equaliser.
Former Boston player Jamie Cook picked out Chris Willmott with a dangerously curling free-kick, but the ex-Oxford United man sent his header high and wide.
That should have served as a warning to Boston, but just minutes later City were level.
The hosts failed to clear their lines and allowed Cook to chip the ball back in, finding Learoyd unmarked in front of goal to nod in from six yards.
A brilliant reaction save from Ingram ensured that the two sides remained level at the break, the on-loan Wycombe keeper palming the ball over after Weir-Daley had been allowed a free header just yards in front of goal.
Boston introduced striker Mark Jones to the fray after 62 minutes and moments later he restored the hosts’s lead. Ingram spilled a shot from Jordan Smith into the path of Newsham, who squared the ball to Jones for a simple tap-in.
City could have levelled late on when a free-kick was headed into the path of Declan Benjamin, who prodded the ball goalwards, only to see it cleared off the line.
The visitors pushed hard for an equaliser, but Jones put the game beyond the visitors’ reach deep into injury time when he slotted past Ingram from a tight angle to compound City’s misery.
Meanwhile, City are hopeful that their New Year’s Day home derby at home to Brackley will go ahead despite the wet weather.
Oxford City: Ingram, Gunn, Stonehouse, Ballard, Learoyd, Willmott, Mulvany (Benjamin 45), Pond, Holgate (Basham 76), Barcelos (Janes 62), Cook. Subs not used: McEachran, Stanley.
Referee: M Walsh Attendance: 871.