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© Chris Byrne 2010



The pre-season build-up began very promisingly with a 2-1 win over Oxford United: the first over our neighbours since the memorable match that opened Court Place Farm back in 1993. There were then two more wins, the first in an interesting fixture against the GB Olympic Deaf XI and the second against Conference South Maidenhead. A poor loss at Abingdon United followed, but the team looked to be gelling quite well.
So the poor league start was a little surprising as the first three matches were lost, with Mike Ford taking over from Justin Merritt at the helm before the third of those games. After this pointless start – the worst for twenty years or so – matters thankfully improved, beginning with a 3-0 win over Rugby Town.
The FA Cup trail started early in September, and City were rocked by an early goal from Hellenic neighbours Kidlington before eventually emerging from a typical cup-match as 4-2 victors. Next up was a tricky trek to the south coast to Division One side VT who were making excellent progress near the top of their division: a single goal from Mark Janes was enough for a City win.
The draw was kind in the next round bringing Cirencester to Court Place Farm for what proved to be a relatively comfortable 2-0 win, and the City then looked forward to the visit of yet another lower-placed side. Bury Town, despite a long trek, would be coming to Oxford quite confident of their chances, as they had already disposed of Rothwell Town, Kings Lynn, Matlock Town and Bedford Town – all tough opposition.

The visitors arrived less than an hour before kick-off and started slowly, but took the lead from a corner before half-time. A Mark Janes strike levelled things with twenty minutes remaining, and, with both sides looking forwards with very different feelings to a mid-week replay in Suffolk, Andy Gunn rose high and headed home a corner to set City players, committee and supporters jumping for joy.
The draw, televised the following day, saw City follow League 2 Burton Albion out of the ‘bowl’, with the game subsequently being moved to the Sunday at the wishes of the home club.
The run-up to City’s first appearance in the First Round for a decade was not auspicious as they lost an FA Trophy match at old rivals Arlesey Town and a league cup tie at Chippenham, but travelled to Staffordshire with a strong squad, but without Baird and Malone. A crowd of just over 2000 might have been a little disappointing, but City’s spirits were lifted as they started the stronger and took the lead through Michael Alexis after just 6 minutes. The hosts equalised from the penalty spot soon afterwards and took the lead just before the break. Ten minutes into the second half a header from Jamie Brooks levelled the scores again and it looked as though City might take the game to a replay until, in the final minute, a free kick from wide on the Burton left was flicked by Austin beyond Knight’s fingertips and into the top corner.
Results were rather patchy after this disappointment, though there was a tremendous see-saw 4-4 draw at Didcot on Boxing Day that kept both sets of supporters on their toes until the final whistle.
Through January and February goals were hard to come by with the side only finding the back of the net five times in league matches during the two months. There was, however, a somewhat bizarre encounter as City were drawn out of the hat against City Nomads, who were having a very encouraging first season in the Hellenic Premier, in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup. The more senior side won on the night thanks to a hat-trick from Jon Douglas, but the Nomads pushed them hard with goals from Jemaine Ferreira and Nathan Skelton.
Though they lost their Senior Cup semi-final to Oxford United, the team did regain their goal-touch and scored in each of their last fifteen league matches to finish thirteenth.
There was no uncertainty in front of goal for the Nomads who failed to net in only four matches and scored exactly 100 goals in their league campaign, finishing a very creditable tenth in the table.

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