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© Chris Byrne 2010


The work on raising the floodlight pylons was progressing well and was expected to be finished during September. The Trial Match was well attended, although there was surprise that so few locals applied, and good results in the pre-season friendlies against Bedford, Basingstoke and Marlow produced an optimistic feeling to the start of the season. George Pullin was appointed captain of the 1st XI and Ron Goodison would skipper the Reserves in their first Hellenic season.
Although the first match was lost, 5-4 at Leytonstone, the First XI were playing very well indeed and, by early October had won six out of the eight matches played including a 3-1 defeat of Enfield the league leaders. The Reserves were also performing well in their new surroundings and, after drawing their first two matches, 2-2 at Thatcham and 3-3 at Clanfield, put together a string of wins to take them into second place by the end of September.
The new lights were switched on on October 15th when City extended their unbeaten home run with a 3-0 defeat of Woking.
With good results in national competitions the previous season, City were again exempt until the last Qualifying Round in the FA Cup and the First Round Proper of the Amateur Cup. Late October saw the draw pit City at home against Romford who had won the Southern League Championship two years earlier and had generally performed extremely well after leaving the amateur ranks of the Isthmian League ten years previously. City’s winning streak petered out and two draws, 0-0 at Walthamstow and 2-2 against Kingstonian, marked the build up to the cup match. Only 1600 turned out for the match but they were undoubtedly on edge at half-time with the score delicately balanced at 1-1. In a blistering second half, however, City ran riot and the final score was 7-1 with goals from Ken Oram(3), Alan Hellyer, Steve Morton, Tony Bradbury and John Woodley.


The draw for the First Round Proper again favoured City and this year it was to be Swansea Town that would visit the White House with Alfie Biggs, who had played for Bristol Rovers against City two years before, in their side. As in the previous two seasons City ran their Football League opponents close, and goals from Alan Pentecost and John Woodley saw the score tied at 2-2 until an 80th minute penalty gave the Welsh team victory.
In the Amateur Cup City edged out local rivals Wycombe Wanderers 3-2 to earn a tie at Cheshire League Skelmersdale United who had been Amateur Cup Runners-up two seasons before.
The end of the year was cold and snowy and no matches were played over the holiday period, but both 1st XI and Reserves went into 1969 in good heart. The 1st XI were in 6th position in the Isthmian, and the Reserves were still unbeaten and top of the Hellenic 1st Division.
The 1st XI lost their first match of the New Year, 3-0 at Wycombe, and then travelled north on the Friday to stay overnight at Southport. The cup match was a closely fought game on a ground with no seating (what would the FA make of that these days?) and a significant slope, but, having fallen behind, City fought back strongly in the second half and a Woodley goal with twenty minutes to go earned a replay. Several City players picked up injuries, though, and the team played below expectations the following week and bowed out of the competition 1-3.
1st and Reserve XIs continued to perform strongly in the league though the 1st XI were shocked when, returning from a victory at Maidstone, coach Johnny Crichton decided he’d had enough of the lengthy ‘pub breaks’ on the returns to Oxford from away matches and phoned his resignation through to the committee: on the Monday he agreed to continue until the end of the season.
With only one league defeat all season the Reserves clinched the championship with a 3-0 victory over Hungerford at the end of April and went on to win the Division 1 Knockout Cup with a 4-2 defeat of Rivet Sports at Thame at the start of May.
The club won the Oxfordshire Senior Cup for the 21st time when they recovered from a 0-1 deficit to beat Morris Motors 2-1 in a replay; but they lost the Smith Memorial Trophy to Banbury over two legs.
John Shippey continued to represent his country and also signed as an amateur for Torquay, who brought a strong side to the White House in early May: a 1-1 draw. Shippey toured New Zealand with an FA XI later in the year. Ken Oram played for an FA XI against Cambridge University, and Terry Jeakings, the County Youth captain who had made his City debut in mid-season, had trials with Wolves. The club provided ten of the eleven players for the county for two of their competitive matches: a record.
Percy James suggested an Ex-Players’ Association in March and, such was its success, that it organised its first ‘Buffet and Dance’ in July for its sixty members.
In June Ron Humpston, who had been trainer to the Czech national team, and more recently manager of Moreton Town, was named as Johnny Crichton’s successor.

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