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OXFORD CITY FC - HISTORY & STATISTICS

© Chris Byrne 2010

1983-1984

The new season began with City in two cup competitions alongside the more usual friendly matches. The Martin Jarvis Trophy was competed for over two legs against Hellenic side Supermarine with City amassing a comfortable 7-1 aggregate; and the club was also involved in a Benevolent Cup semi-final against Witney Town, which was lost 3-4.
There were several new faces at the club, but league results were disappointing, and with no Reserve team the manager was finding it difficult to produce a workable combination. In fact the first win didn’t arrive until October 1st and no league goals were scored away from home until October 15th.!
Results in the Hitachi Cup, however, belied the team’s poor league form and before the first league win was under their belts they had already accounted for two Premier Division teams, Carshalton and Barking, in that competition.
City travelled to the south coast in the FA Cup and came up against a side, RS Southampton, who had a meteoric rise into and fall from senior football. This was their first season in the FA Cup, having been elected to the Southern League the year before, and they would be champions of the Southern Division and reach the Fifth Round of the Vase this season. City were no match for them on the day and were beaten 4-1.
By the end of October City were bottom of the division and had also been dismissed from the FA Trophy by Walthamstow Avenue. At this point the committee realised the problems of the lack of a Reserve side and resurrected it, bringing in Andy Lyne as manager. It was assumed they would only play friendlies, but the Southern Combination were happy to welcome the team back to the league and, somewhat belatedly, they played Baldock Town in their first league match of the season on November 12th!

1983-4

The reformation of the Reserves seemed to galvanise the 1st XI as they promptly won their first away match of the season, 7-1 at Leatherhead, lifting themselves out of the relegation positions – and the Reserves beat Baldock 5-1.
Results suddenly improved. By the middle of December the 1st XI had risen to 9th in the table with 22 points from the last eight games and had claimed yet another Premier Division scalp in the Hitachi Cup with a 4-2 win at Dulwich.
Although there had been an upturn in results the Oxford public was not greatly attracted by football at the White House and attendances were generally very poor. 68 watched City beat Cheshunt in February and only 49 turned out for the visit of Wembley a month later though the team continued to put together good results in the league in these months. Additionally a fourth Premier side, Tooting & Mitcham, were dispatched from the Hitachi Cup, taking City through to a semi-final meeting at Loakes Park with perennial rivals Wycombe, and the same stage of the Senior Cup was reached when Bruce McCrea scored four out of six against Blackfriars.
City battled hard in the Hitachi semi-final but the reigning Isthmian champions were just too strong and won by a single goal, but the team bounced back well to win their next league match at table-topping Boreham Wood.
After such positive performances the season’s last month was something of an anti-climax as the final five league matches yielded no points at all and the club slid down the table to finish below half way, and John Maskell, who had been offered another year’s contract, thought that, “...overall it had been a very disappointing season and that promotion should have been attained. ...we’ve gone as far as we can with this side”.
Still, after a surprise in the semi-final with Kidlington scoring after 45 seconds and it needing a Paul Lee goal on 87 minutes to take the game through to a successful extra-time, City did reach the Senior Cup Final. With City showing poor recent form, and fresh from a 6-1 catastrophe at Tilbury on Easter Saturday, most rated them as the underdogs at Marriott’s Close on Easter Monday, but they put in a fine performance as a crowd of over 700 watched them beat their hosts 3-1.
Although the team could finish no higher than 15th, Rod Collett’s excellent programme reached number three in the programme awards, and many felt it was as good or better than some produced by clubs of considerably higher status.
Italy was the destination for the Club at Whitsun and initially two matches were arranged, against Cattolica and FC Jesi, but problems of fixing suitable dates arose and eventually a single match against Rimini was played: a 2-2 draw.

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