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© Chris Byrne 2010


So after two seasons in which the name of the club was kept alive by a dedicated committee (with Ted Wheelock as Chairman and Mick Woodley and John Shepperd as vice-chairmen) and the playing of a Youth team in the local league, Oxford City reappeared on the larger stage with the entry of a senior side in Division One of the South Midlands League with home matches being played on a council pitch at Cutteslowe Park. £7000 had been raised, a major coup had been achieved by obtaining sponsorship from Unipart, and local favourite Peter Foley had agreed to manage the team.
The new side’s first match, a friendly at Kidlington on August 2nd, was lost 0-4, but the second was a little better, a 1-3 loss at Wallingford. The third friendly, against Chiltonian side Henley Town, saw goals from Steve Hayward and Gary Waddup produce a 2-1 win, but Hellenic side Abingdon United proved too strong in the final friendly running out 5-1 winners.
The first league match at Walden Rangers was narrowly lost 0-1, but the following Tuesday at Risborough Rangers Micky Lapper and Steve Brown produced the first three points of the season, followed on the Saturday by another three at Bedford United. 150 watched the first home match at Cutteslowe as City drew 2-2 with Toddington and then beat Sandy Albion a week later.
By the end of October they had recorded four wins, four losses and three draws, but new players were arriving at the club and results took on a much more positive slant. Six goals were scored against Walden Rangers in December after a short enforced break for snow; a 2-2 draw was gained at high-scoring Potters Bar Crusaders on their artificial pitch and a Steve Hudspith hat-trick to another half-dozen goals in the last game of 1990 against Tring Athletic taking the unbeaten run to ten games and the club up to fifth in the league.


The clubs reappearance in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup was marked by a good start with a 3-0 win at Hellenic side Clanfield and, despite a hasty change of venue for the match against Shefford to the Oxford University Press ground at Jordan Hill when the hot water packed up at Cutteslowe, a sixth successive league win stretched the unbeaten run to fourteen and lifted the club into the top three for the first time.
An interesting meeting on the pitch of two former City players occurred in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup in January when Kevin Durham, playing for Barnet, faced Portsmouth’s Guy Whittingham: Portsmouth triumphed 5-0 on the day in what was Barnet’s ninth match in the competition in a long run from the 1st Qualifying Round.
Defeats in the League Cup, O’Brien Trophy and the Senior Cup, by Shenley, Tring and Carterton Town respectively, did little to upset their momentum in the league and by the end of February, and another interruption for snow, a 3-1 win over Ickleford lifted them into the runners-up spot.
March brought rather too many draws though, and any chances of grabbing the championship slipped away. However Steve Hudspith continued to hit the target with remarkable regularity and scoring all the goals in the 4-1 win at Ashcroft took his total to a nicely symmetrical 30 in 30 games.
April saw Buckingham Athletic, with whom City had drawn both their encounters, putting their games in hand to good effect and pushing to the top of the table, while a 3-1 loss at second placed Shenley & Loughton ended a twenty match unbeaten run in the league and left the club needing two points from their remaining two matches to keep third position and grab promotion at the first attempt.
Nerves appeared to be getting the best of them as they went 3-2 behind at bottom club Sandy Albion, but late goals from manager Peter Foley and Ralph Perna pulled the match around. With the pressure off the final match of the season at Tring was won 2-0 and a third place finish was assured.
The Youth XI also rounded off a good season on a high note with a 3-0 win over Barton Youth in the Oxfordshire Youth Final at The Manor.
There was a nervous time through the month of May as the ground-sharing plan with Pressed Steel at their Roman Way ground awaited a ground inspection. This was finally passed at the start of June and promotion became a reality along with acceptance into the F.A. Vase for the first time. The excitement was balanced, however, by the news of the death at the age of 29 of ex-City man Kevin Durham while on holiday in Majorca.

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