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© Chris Byrne 2010


There was quite a changed look about the team list at the start of the new season with Shaun Wimble, Michael Thorp, Terry Sweeney, Tate Hulbert, Jason Davy and Richard Peirson having joined the club over the summer break. The new line-up gelled quickly, though, and Bishops Stortford were comfortably beaten 5-0 in the opening match at Court Place Farm.
The following weekend the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup pitted City against Gosport Borough, and for the second Saturday in succession City netted five times as they eased aside their Wessex League opposition. Two defeats and a draw in the league were not the most settling results for the next tie – a potentially tricky game at local rivals Abingdon United. After one or two early scares Richard Peirson headed a goal that settled nerves and City scored another five goals without reply to set up a difficult tie at Tooting and Mitcham, who were beaten by early goals from Wimble and Thorp.
The Third Qualifying Round gave City a visit to Western League side Backwell United who had already eliminated Bashley and Fleet from the competition, and on a wet sloping pitch the home side kept their visitors within a goal for much of the game until a late goal from Justin Lee sealed the 4-2 victory taking City through to the final Qualifying Round for the first time since 1985.
A crowd of close on 500 saw City go ahead with goals from Andy Smith and Stewart McCleary, but an acrobatic diving header brought the Southern Premier side back into the game. It needed some heroic defending in the last 15 minutes to keep the home side ahead, but they held firm and ears were glued to the radio after the match as City were drawn against near-neighbours Wycombe Wanderers.


A large contingent of supporters made the short journey to Adams Park, with many of the older supporters remembering the rivalry from the clubs’ days together in the Isthmian League, and even more interested to see how Jermaine McSporran might perform against his old club. Both sides had chances before Wycombe went ahead after 66 minutes, but City kept pressing and with four minutes left Davy had a shot pushed behind for a corner and Richard Peirson headed home Matty Whitehead’s flag-kick.
City gave up home advantage for the replay and silenced the Wycombe fans five minutes before half-time when Dwaine Strong raced onto a Wimble pass to score. Simpson levelled the scores on the hour and both sides had chances to win the game as it moved on into extra-time, but as the final whistle went and penalties beckoned a small fire was discovered in the stand and the game was somewhat controversially abandoned.
The third encounter between the sides (the last time that a Second Replay of an FA Cup match occurred) was held at The Manor and a crowd of over 4000 saw Steve Brown finally end City’s cup run with a goal after 51 minutes.
There were also good results in the FA Trophy as City first disposed of Hastings Town, and then edged out Isthmian Premier side Harrow Borough 3-2. In one of the poorer performances of the season, however, they crashed 1-5 at home to Burnham in the next round.
Because of the cup runs only 17 league matches had been played by the end of the year, and with only six victories and two draws there was not going to be any promotion push this season, indeed they were hovering worryingly near to the relegation zone at the start of December. Eleven victories from January onwards, however, eventually saw them to a comfortable mid-table finish.
There was a good run in the League Cup that eventually ended at the quarter-final stage with a loss on penalties to Barton Rovers; while a 1-0 victory over Witney Town took them through to another Senior Cup Final where goals from Strong and McCleary were enough to defeat Thame United.

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