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© Chris Byrne 2010


With promotion via the play-offs at the end of the previous season, excitement was high around the Club with the thought of playing at the highest level since its renaissance of the mid ‘90s.
The pre-season friendlies were, perhaps, something of a disappointment. An away win at Banbury was followed by further away fixtures at Southern League clubs Swindon Supermarine, Hitchin Town and Rugby Town producing a draw a loss and a win respectively. A 2-2 draw at Conference South side Maidenhead brought close-season acquisition Jamie Cook’s first goal for the club. The two home friendlies, against Hayes & Yeading United and, finally, Oxford United were both lost.
With preparations over, August 18th saw City’s new life in the North begin with the visit to Marsh Lane of the division’s odds-on favourites Chester: the bookies proved to be right as Chester won the championship by 16 clear points. An excellent crowd of 1025 watched City’s season get off to the worst possible start as Ian Howard netted for the visitors on two minutes, but the home side settled steadily and, though they were unable to find an equaliser, could draw encouragement from the way they played.
The first journeys northwards were not too arduous and City returned buoyed by two victories. Jack Mills, recently returned to the Club, scored City’s first league goal of the season to grab the points at Gloucester, and Benjamin and Cook’s strikes defeated Solihull.
Their third away-day brought the season’s first long trek as City visited Yorkshire for the first time in many years and fell to defeat at the hands of another phoenix-side passing through the division: FC Halifax Town.
Mid-September brought City’s entry into the FA Cup, at the latest stage in the competition for a long time, but the trip down the M4 produced a banana-skin for the side as Yate Town of the Southern League Division One, without a league victory at that point in the season, put an early end to any hopes City might have had to another profit-making cup run. The result looked less embarrassing later in the year as Yate went on to beat Newport County (promoted to the Football League at the end of the season) on their own ground to reach the First Round Proper for the first time.
City entered the FA Trophy at the Third Round Qualifying stage where a Barcelos goal brought victory at Sholing, and a Nick Stanley goal was sufficient to see them through the next round’s twice-postponed home tie against fellow BSB South side Bishop’s Stortford. Nine days later the draw took them to old Isthmian rivals Sutton United and this time a single goal was enough to end their involvement in the competition.


The Christmas period approached with league results having taken a downturn after the 5-0 demolition of Workington in mid-October. However, four points from the holiday fixtures against promotion-hopefuls Brackley improved confidence and the home game against Hinckley United saw the side score six goals before the interval for the first time since 2005.
At the start of 2013 the fixtures were hit badly by the weather with City suffering more postponements than any other club. Only eleven league fixtures were played between New Year’s Day and the end of March: leaving the remaining eleven league fixtures to be played before April 27th. To the squad’s great credit it dug deep and won three and drew six of those games. Only the games at Colwyn Bay and Worcester were lost, and this late rush of points meant City ended their debut season in the league in a very satisfying tenth position.
5-0 Wins against Bletchingdon and Thame United took City through to the Senior Cup Final, but perhaps that manic April had taken its toll, and Oxford United, with a blend of first-team and Youth players, ran out 4-2 winners in extra time after the sides had been very evenly matched over the ninety minutes.
Oxford City Nomads had had a total rebuild over the close season as the Justins (Merritt & Lee) moved on after the previous season’s Hellenic Championship. Almost all the squad moved on as well – many to Witney to link up again with the previous manager – leaving new manager, ex-City favourite Chris Fontaine, to use all his skill, knowledge and contacts to put together a new side.
The season started well with a 4-2 win over Premier newcomers Highmoor Ibis, but results were rather variable through September and August. There was a first ever win in the FA Vase, against Windsor, but the next round brought Peacehaven & Telscombe to Marsh Lane and the Sussex high-fliers ran out relatively comfortable 3-0 winners.
Possibly the low point of the season came at the start of December when Nomads were dumped unceremoniously out of the Senior Cup at Senior League side Garsington. This defeat seemed to be the spur they needed as form promptly turned the corner and fourteen of the remaining league fixtures were won, eventually lifting them to an impressive fourth place at the end of the season.
Equally satisfying was the League Cup performance where, following an against-the-odds win at runaway league champions Marlow in the semi-final, they lifted the trophy for the first time with a Bank Holiday Monday win over Cheltenham Saracens in front of a shirt-sleeve crowd of over 250 at Ardley’s ground.

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