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© Chris Byrne 2010



As in the previous season the League campaign got underway with a home match against Bracknell, and a single goal from Darren Pond grabbed the points for City.
The Nomads had been transferred to Division One West for the new season, with more local matches in prospect, and started well with a win and a draw.
Two away draws followed for the 1st XI as well as a convincing 3-0 win at the rebranded Brook House – now AFC Hayes – before the first day of September saw an early entry into the FA Cup and a visit to fellow BGB League Andover. City were plagued by injuries in the match and had made all three substitutions by half-time, but all three substitutes – Ikechi Anya, Alex Stewart and manager Justin Merritt – got on the score sheet. An own-goal gave City a comfortable 4-0 lead, but three late goals in quick succession from the Hampshire side produced an edgy finale.
A rather more straightforward 4-2 home win against Premier Division Swindon Supermarine in the next round set up a home tie against Conference South Weston-super-Mare for what proved to be another pulsating match.
City had two or three early chances before the West-Country visitors took a two-goal lead into the interval. A third goal four minutes into the second half looked to have decided the outcome, but City stormed back and three goals in 15 minutes levelled the scores before the Step Two side finally netted the winner.

City were drawn at Bishops Cleeve in the FA Trophy, and there were to be no repeats of the previous season’s FA Cup disappointments as they ran out comfortable 4-0 winners. Involvement in the competition ended in the next round, though, as they failed to score for the first time in fifteen games and lost by the only goal at Windsor & Eton.
After a brief interlude for the Errea (League) Cup, where there was a loss by the odd goal in seven (again) against local rivals Didcot, it was back to league action, and it was during the period from the end of October to the end of January that the side was at its most consistent. There were thirteen victories and three draws in that time, the only losses coming at Fleet and Windsor & Eton, with 42 goals scored and only 12 conceded.
This run of good form lifted City into the play-off positions by mid-December and there they stayed, vying with Didcot, Fleet, Farnborough and City for the top four places, with Uxbridge, Windsor & Eton and Bridgwater Town competing for the final play-off position.
In the Senior Cup quarter final City were second out of the hat against Worcester College Old Boys & Bletchingdon, but the Senior League side had to concede home advantage because of the lack of floodlights and never really tested their opponents as City ran out 5-0 victors. The semi-final against Banbury United at the Spencer Stadium was a much closer affair and the Premier Division side went through 1-0.
Nerves were getting to the leading pack, and, with the exception of Farnborough, points were being dropped by most sides. Six points over the Easter fixtures kept the challenge on track, but home defeats by Fleet and Bridgwater put an end to the hopes for automatic promotion.
Uxbridge put together a good run of results in the last three weeks to ensure they finished fifth, and a loss for City in the final match at Marlow, coupled with Didcot’s victory over Burnham, left Farnborough champions by four points from Fleet with Didcot in third place two points clear of City.
The play-offs were scheduled for the Tuesday evening, but a torrential downpour over the South-East put paid to both matches, and City had to wait for twenty-four hours for their match at Didcot when 402 fans enjoyed a thrilling match at The Loop Stadium.
Darren Pond put City ahead after just four minutes, and it wasn’t until six minutes from time that Liam Hope levelled for Didcot after plenty of chances for both sides. Alex Stewart then restored City’s lead with a header in extra-time before Jack King hit home a great equaliser to take the game to penalties, when City edged through as Darren Pond held his nerve for the away side after Steve Smith had saved from Matt Bicknell.
Having ensured fifth position with a win at champions Farnborough in their final game, Uxbridge again upset the form-book and won 2-1 at Fleet on the Thursday, thanks to a penalty in the dying minutes of the match, to set up a play-off final at Court Place Farm on the first Saturday of May.
A tense crowd of 646 saw quite a physical match, where the excitement levels never quite matched those of the semi-final, settled by a single goal on 35 minutes when Mark Bell received from James Saulsbury and turned his marker before firing home. Chances came and went for both sides, and the City defence had to be at the top of its game as Uxbridge threw men forwards in the last quarter, but promotion was finally theirs.
The Nomads’ geographical move in the Hellenic League was popular and they ultimately had a very positive campaign. They finished the season particularly strongly, unbeaten after mid-February, and ended in ninth position.

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