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© Chris Byrne 2010



With the ground-sharing at Roman Way in place the club looked to build on the previous season’s progress. Shaun Bradford joined Peter Foley as Assistant Manager of the First XI, with Steve Hayward as coach, and Mick Callaghan and Nick Dollard took on the task of running the reformed Reserve team.
The pre-season friendlies went well with three draws and a resounding 8-1 victory at Risborough Rangers with hat-tricks from both Phil Starrett and Wayne Holden. So it was a confident side that travelled to Leverstock Green for the season’s opening match and left with a point after a 1-1 draw. The visit to Winslow the following Tuesday was even more encouraging as Holden and Mark Thomas both scored hat-tricks in a 7-0 win - although the Reserves outdid them in their game against Winslow, winning 10-0.
At the start of September the Club was saddened at the death of life-long supporter and former President Jimmy Austin, but morale was lifted by a 3-1 F.A. Vase victory over Wantage Town as City returned to national competitions after an absence of four years.
In the league results continued to be generally encouraging and gradually the team climbed into the top five, but a trip across the Solent on a wet and blustery day to play Newport in the next round of the Vase was less successful and City returned home empty handed.
Results wobbled a little in November including a 4-0 defeat at Biggleswade, the worst reverse of the season, although the Reserves’ results continued to be outstanding, and Dean Gordon, who had already scored fourteen goals for them, was invited for a month’s trial at Irish League side Linfield - he later moved to Distillery and scored for them on his debut.

The 1st XI got back to victorious ways, after seven winless games, around Christmas and were heartened by the news late in the month that the City Council and Pegasus Homes (the company developing the White House site) that there would be £200k towards a new ground and £50k for work on it. The site for the new ground had yet to be agreed, and so there was no possibility of the Club being promoted back to the Isthmian League, even if they finished in a suitable position, because of the lack of floodlighting at Roman Way. The out-of-town nature of Roman Way also seemed to be hitting attendances, and concerns were being voiced on that score as well. With a large league fixture list (forty matches) the lack of floodlights was also producing an increasing backlog of fixtures and City were to be grateful later in the season for the kindness of Witney Town, Abingdon Town and Thame United for allowing the use of their grounds for evening fixtures.
The new year began poorly with a 5-2 defeat at Potters Bar, but the team put that result behind them and the following week trounced Clanfield 8-0 in the Senior Cup under the watchful eye of Julie Collins, the first woman to officiate in the competition.
February saw four cup matches to be played. A narrow win over Biggleswade saw the team through to the quarter-finals of the league Challenge Trophy, but Hoddesdon knocked them out of the other league-based competition, the O’Brien Trophy. Goals from Phil Starrett, Mark Thomas and Steve Aries gave them quick revenge for the defeat by Carterton the previous year in the Senior Cup, but a strong Shillington side held them to a 2-2 draw at Roman Way in that Challenge Trophy quarter-final and comfortably won the replay in Bedfordshire.
The visit of Witney Town for the Senior Cup quarter-final drew a good crowd of around 200 to Roman Way and, though City fought all the way, the Southern League side eased through 2 0 after extra time.
Results were still a little variable through March, though the season’s biggest league win, 7-1 against Welwyn Garden City, was a notable victory, and by the start of April a third of the league matches had still to be played. Even with the help of the local sides’ floodlit grounds, the end of the season was impossibly hectic with the final eight league fixtures (20% of the season’s total) being played between April 23rd and May 8th, and it came as no real surprise when only seven points were taken out of a possible twenty-four over those sixteen days.
The Reserves had played well all season and scored some notable victories, while the Youth team had an outstanding season, capping it with a 3-0 win over Ruscote Sports in the County Youth Cup to seal a league and cup double.

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