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© Chris Byrne 2010


A home match against the Dutch Second Division Champions, 't Gooi, whom City had visited on their Whitsun tour, got the season under way and a large late-summer crowd were treated to a closely-fought 3-2 win for the home side. The league season began the following Thursday with a 2-1 loss at St Albans and a 1-1 home draw on the Saturday with league-newcomers Maidstone United who had replaced Romford on their move to the ranks of the professionals in the Southern League. There then followed a run of league draws until the first win for fifteen years at Leytonstone at the end of September. The wins were sparse up to the end of the year, but after the home match against Ilford was postponed on January 16th – the first time a home game had been called off because of the weather for over six years! – form picked up and only one more game was lost over the next ten weeks. In fact a run of five wins pulled the team up the table in March and April, only for the good work to be undone by the loss of the final five games of the season, including a 7-0 trouncing at Wimbledon.
The Reserves were in goal scoring mood during the season, netting 89 times in the league: Bill Woodward scoring 50 of them. It was a season of extremes for them in some ways, though, with a 6-0 victory at Dulwich, their biggest away win since before the War, and a 9-0crushing of Clapton, balanced by a 7-1 home loss to Wycombe: their largest home defeat since the War! They had reached third in the Section by March, but a shaky last six weeks saw them slip a little to a very creditable 6th
There was a good run in the FA Cup with wins at Witney and Aylesbury setting up a home derby against Banbury Spencer. What might have been a tricky encounter became a comfortable 5-1 win for the City during which Arthur Howlett scored his hundredth goal for the club: the first player to do so. A good win over Maidenhead in the next Round saw them through to the last Qualifier and the draw matched them against Wycombe. Unfortunately for the club the match coincided with the final North v South England Trial, and both Doug Buswell and Arthur Howlett had been selected for the South and they, very reasonably, chose the Trial ahead of the Cup match. The team lost 1-0 in the Cup; and the two City players both missed out on international caps.


The good run in the 58-59 Amateur Cup meant exemption until the final Qualifying Round but they performed poorly at Athenian League Wealdstone and lost 2-3.
Progress through the early stages of the Senior Cup was untroubled: 8-0 v Morris Motors; 6-1 v Oxford YMCA; and 4-1 v Bicester. Easter Monday’s Final at the Iffley Road ground produced a 2-2 draw with Pegasus but the City triumphed 3-0 in the replay. They also retained the Benevolent Cup in mid-May when they overwhelmed Bicester Town 11-1, but were defeated in the final of the AFA Invitation Cup by Wycombe.
In the Reading Senior Cup the Reserves performed well, as usual, but they lost in the Final at Elm Park 5-4 to Lambourne Sports.
Several of the younger club players were performing well and John Woodley and Tony Bradbury were mainstays of the County Youth XI. Although he had played in the final match in 58-9 Woodley became a regular 1st XI player from mid-November onwards and scored his first 1st XI goal in a 3-2 win against Kingstonian in mid-December: he also signed amateur forms for Aston Villa. The senior players also featured strongly in the full County XI: Buswell, Crossingham, Goodison, Harris, Howlett and Arnold Jackson played in most matches.
A Whitsun tour, a regular feature of June in the 50s and 60s, was undertaken. This year the destination was Bavaria and the tour party flew for the very first time with three matches being planned, against Furstenfeldbruck, Simsee and Toging. The tourists were unbeaten but the weather was more memorable than the matches with the first match being played in a temperature of over 80 degrees; the second being abandoned by the referee when the rain arrived, but being restarted after protests by the City players; and the third being brought to a premature halt when a thunderstorm put out the floodlights and all the power locally!
The club were honoured by the choice of the White House ground to stage the final Schoolboys’ International Trial in March: normally a Football League ground was used. But all involved were disappointed by the meagre crowd of just over 2000 that supported the event.
And locally Headington United were finally given permission by the FA in June to change their name to Oxford United – a move that had been opposed by the City in the past, but it was with their blessing this time.

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