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© Chris Byrne 2010


Roman Way continued to be the club’s home for another season although the plans for the move to a new ground were well advanced, and manager Peter Foley summed up the general feeling when he said, “I don’t think we were too far away from the top clubs last season. With our new signings we can do even better, but we won’t really take off until we are settled into our new ground.” The pre-season friendlies went well, and the 3-1 win at Isthmian League Hungerford Town was particularly encouraging. It was clear that a good team had indeed been put together when, after four league matches, the unbeaten City side under Jon Hawkins’ captaincy went to the top of the table.
As August ended City played their first FA Cup tie for five years and were drawn at home against Western League Devizes Town. A see-saw game found City behind early on, but they fought back to lead 2-1 and hold the lead until Sean Reck received his marching orders and the Wiltshire side capitalised on the advantage to run out 3-2 winners.
The team’s league form continued to be strong, though, and it wasn’t until their ninth league match that they were defeated for the first time. September finished on a high note with a 4-1 win over Welwyn Garden City keeping the first team at the top of the table; with an 8-2 demolition of Potters Bar Crusaders doing the same for the unbeaten Reserve XI.
City’s second season in the FA Vase produced an exciting local derby against Thame United who had themselves been promoted from the South Midlands League to the Isthmian League two seasons previously and were putting together some excellent results. Another close-run cup-tie saw City edge the tie 3-2 with a goal apiece from the two Thomases (M and A) and an own goal, and the next round also produced a good result for the side when they won 3-1 at Eastleigh, conquerors of Didcot in the previous round.


A 6-2 win at Ashcroft in the O’Brien Trophy and a fine 8-1 defeat of Buckingham Athletic in the league had confidence high for the visit of Evesham United in Round 2 of the Vase, but the Southern League side edged through by the odd goal in three. Coincidently the Reserves lost their first match of the season on the same day, at second placed Flamstead, but still held on to top spot.
The club were now waiting for a final decision on the Court Place Farm site for the new ground. The council had now earmarked the site for a ground with two small stands that would be funded by Pegasus Developments – the company developing the White House site. Some local residents had registered their opposition to the plan (as had been the case when Oxford United might have relocated to that area thirty years previously) with floodlighting – essential, even if the club remained in the South Midland – being one of the major issues.
This inability to play mid-week matches was going to leave a log-jam of fixtures to be cleared when the evenings grew longer, though City still topped the league at the end of 1992 – on goal difference from Brache Sparta who had played two more games.
But the news that the club had been waiting for, that the Department of the Environment would not hold a public enquiry over the siting of the new ground, came through just in time for Christmas.
The new year saw the 1st XI go out of the Senior Cup at Banbury: missing two penalties and losing 1-2, but the Reserves progressed in the Intermediate Cup with a 3-0 defeat of Yarnton.
Mark Thomas continued his good goal-scoring run through January, scoring his 27th and 28th of the season in the 3-0 victory at Hoddesdon Town to see City end the month five points clear of Biggleswade Town and with four games in hand, and the team continued in much the same vein through February to end the month two points ahead of a rapidly-improving Arlesey Town, but still with two games in hand. And though Berinsfield defeated them in the Intermediate Cup, the Reserves continued to set the pace in their division. The elation was tempered by the news of the death of Bobby Moore on February 24th though their ex-manager would have been proud of the way that the side, after a minute’s silence the following Saturday, lifted their game and defeated Pirton 8-0.
Steve Jenkins rejoined the club in early March, celebrating his return with a couple of goals, and would score fifteen at a rate of one-a-game by the end of the season, as City won 7-2 at Potters Bar, and though challengers Arlesey beat City 2-0 to close the gap slightly, Jenkins’ and Thomas’ fire-power proved far too potent for most opponents as the side pressed on inexorably towards the championship.
The title was finally made a certainty on May Day, with three games of the season still remaining, with a 4-1 win over Hoddesdon Town. With the pressure lifted City comfortably won their next matches against Milton Keynes Borough and Harpenden 7-0 and 4-1, though the final game, against Potters Bar Town, threatened to finish the season on a disappointing note. Mark Thomas scored his 42nd and 43rd goals but the visitors fought back to lead 3-2, and it needed an 85th minute equaliser from the unlikely boot of keeper Mickey Torres to avoid a slightly embarrassing finale to the season.
The Reserves added to the successes of the season when their 4-1 win at Cranfield secured the title on May 8th.
Peter Foley, to nobody’s surprise, won the Manager of the Season Award from the League and, as the Club looked forward to a hectic summer of trying to ready Court Place Farm in time to allow them to accept their promotion, a well attended memorabilia exhibition at the new development on the site of the White House reminded supporters of the past.

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