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© Chris Byrne 2010


City were to take part in two new floodlit cup competitions this season: the Mithras Cup (along with Maidenhead, Hemel Hempstead, Hendon, Wealdstone, Enfield, Finchley, Barnet, Hitchin and Barking) and the East Anglian Cup. Ron Goodison returned from Chesham and Tony Bradbury from Oxford United; and two Spaniards, Ayuro and Moroxgal, attended the Trials.
The league campaign got underway poorly: the 1st XI drew 2-2 at home to Tooting and Mitcham (“... the attack lacks thrust and method”); while the Reserves, who “...gave a spiritless display”, went down 2-5 at Walthamstow. (Oxford United lost their first ever Fourth Division match 3-2 at Barrow.)
Though they were finding winning difficult in the league, cup competitions were another matter. In the FA Cup they progressed to the 4th Qualifying Round with wins over Banbury (2-0), Harrow Town (4-2) and Hemel Hempstead (4-3): the Harrow game was played on Saturday evening because Oxford United were at home in the afternoon, and was the first home FA Cup match that City had ever played under floodlights. A large crowd travelled to London to see if City could reach the 1st Round Proper for the first time for almost thirty years, but Isthmian League champions Wimbledon were far too strong and the ‘hoops’ went down 6-1.
In the Amateur Cup City again had to work their way through the qualifying rounds. They brushed aside Alcan Industries from Banbury 15-1 in the Preliminary Round, with a goal apiece from Clive Taylor and Ron Goodison; four goals from John Woodley; and NINE from Peter Slade. This surpassed Alec Blakeman’s record for City of six in a match against Clapton; the feat also sparked an approach from Oxford United, but it was rejected. In the next round City “... made hard work” of beating Pressed Steel 6-1; and in the 2nd Qualifying Round shocked the local press by being held 2-2 in front of a big crowd at Bicester Town. They made no mistake in the replay, though, winning 9-2 with John Woodley netting four times. Woodley scored four again in the next round when Chipping Norton were overcome easily 7-0. So, to reach the 4th Qualifying Round, City had scored 39 goals (and conceded six) and the club and the Oxford Times/Mail were asking, not for the first time, if it was sensible that an Isthmian League team should have to enter the competition at such an early stage. Yet again, they slipped up at the last hurdle and went out at Chesham, 3-2 after a 1-1 stalemate at the White House, with Howlett scoring two against the City.


Other cup competitions were slowing league progress as well: two Saturdays were given over to playing finals carried forward from the 61-2 season! City at least won both. A 2-0 win at Wycombe gained them the AFA Invitation Cup; and a 5-4 win over the same opponents secured the Smith Memorial Cup. But all this cup involvement meant that only eight league matches had been played by the start of December. The Boxing Day derby with Wycombe went ahead despite some light snow flurries: a 1-1 draw that finished at 5.15 because of time spent trying to find an electrician after the lights went out! Then the Big Freeze set in.
A month later City played their next match on a still-frozen White House pitch when they beat Old Salesians on the Senior Cup 9-1, but their first league encounter since Boxing Day didn’t go ahead until February 9th when they were beaten 5-2 at home by Ilford (A. Christmas scoring two for the visitors on a very white and hard pitch!) and there were still 18 league matches remaining to complete the league programme. At the end of the month they finally recorded a league victory, their first since August: a 5-1 win at Clapton’s Old Spotted Dog ground. Although league fixtures came thick and fast after this, two or even three matches per week, there was an upturn in form and only one match was lost out of the final 13. City’s final league game of the season was played on Friday, May 24th: a 3-2 win against Bromley.
Not surprisingly the Reserves’ matches were even more dramatically affected by the terrible weather and, to ensure all matches were played, the City twice resorted to playing two matches one after the other on the same afternoon. Several league clubs used this ploy to complete their fixture list and the League agreed to matches being of 60 minutes’ duration and teams were allowed to change players between the two games. So, at the end of February, the Reserves beat Corinthian-Casuals 3-2 then drew 1-1; and then, two weeks later, lost to St Albans 1-2 and then beat them 2-0. Good value for the paying customers!
The Benevolent Cup competition had been cancelled because of the weather, but the Senior Cup continued and City won 2-1 at Bicester and then 3-1 against Pegasus to set up a final at the Manor against Thame United. The Cup was won comfortably, 6-0, to record the City’s ninth win since the war, and to match Cowley’s record of four successive victories.
Despite the unremarkable league campaign, cup involvement meant that both John Woodley and Peter Slade scored more than 50 goals in the season.
City also fought their way through to the final of the inaugural Mithras Cup in the last week in May, and, having scored seven goals against them earlier in the year, were expected to see off Finchley in the final at the White House, but despite Peter Slade giving them an early lead Finchley rallied and won 3-1.
At the end of the season the old Supporters’ Club in Abingdon Road was demolished to make way for the new £15000 replacement; and Alf Jefferies gave up his role as Reserve Team manager to take over the helm at Didcot Town who were about to return to the Hellenic League after a six-season run in the Metropolitan League.

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