Wednesday 26th December - Hungerford Town vs. Oxford City
Saturday 29th December - Wealdstone vs. Oxford City
Tuesday 1st January - Oxford City vs. Hungerford Town
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
The festive period usually spells the busiest period of the season, and this year is certainly no different. Oxford City, like all 21 other clubs in the National League South, will play three matches in the seven days between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, with a double header against Hungerford Town as the two Bank Holiday fixtures, with a match against Wealdstone sandwiched between the two.
City have already earned first bragging rights over Wealdstone this campaign, as a side that included a number of familiar faces in Freddie Grant, Godfrey Poku and Bradley Bubb were hit for a late 3-0 defeat as Kabongo Tshimanga’s fierce opener was complimented by a brace of Matt Paterson penalties to earn City a flattering win in the end.
It’ll be Hungerford up first for the Hoops however, and since the Crusaders promotion to the National League South for the 2016/17 campaign, the sides have taken two wins apiece; the Berkshire side doing the double over the Hoops in their maiden campaign - picking up 2-0 and 6-0 wins - however City repaid the favour in 2017/18 as they ran out 2-0 and 2-1 winners to make it honours even.
Against Wealdstone, Oxford City hold a favourable record, having been on the winning side three times against the Stones' one, the other three meetings finishing at draws. Digging very slightly deeper and the results would probably point towards this fixture being another draw, all three meetings between the two sides at Grosvenor Vale finishing in stalemates – a 2-2 draw, followed by two 1-1 draws. That of course means that the four decisive results have all come at Marsh Lane!
The Hoops enter the festive period on their best run of form since 2011 when they also managed five consecutive league victories on their way to winning the Southern League playoffs to earn promotion to the then Conference North. Should City beat Hungerford on Boxing Day, that will match a record last achieved in the Spartan South Midland League in December to January in the 2005/06 season. That run actually included eight straight wins, with a certain Mark Jones playing in six of those, scoring in one!
To find the start of the current run, you have to go back to a time where City were still in the FA Cup, the Hoops’ 1-0 win away at Dulwich Hamlet coming just three days before the huge FA Cup replay at Marsh Lane against Tranmere Rovers. Although defeat in the cup game may have split up the run of consecutive wins in all competitions, a 4-0 win over Chelmsford City in the FA Trophy maintains a run of five wins. The Hoops have managed to net at least three times in all their previous five matches, with a 3-2 win away at Billericay Town, a 4-0 win against Truro, a 3-1 victory against East Thurrock and then finally a 3-0 win against Weston-super-Mare continuing the run.
Looking further back into City’s form, they have in fact just fallen to defeat just three times since the conclusion of September, one of these against a Football League side! The run of form has seen an incredible jump in league position, with the Hoops jumping from just a couple of points off the relegation zone, into the playoffs in just five matches!
As for our festive opponents, Hungerford Town are currently sitting in 20th place, just two points off safety. They did pick up an important win in the last couple of matches however, as a 2-1 win over local rivals Chippenham Town helped pull them closer to 19th place Gloucester City in their battle for survival.
Wealdstone sit in 12th place at the moment, however they are just three points behind 7th placed City, with that area of the table very compact. There are just five points separating 4th place to 13th place and so any result can almost guarantee major movement in that area as current!
The Stones haven’t won in their last three however with defeats against Chippenham Town and Eastbourne Borough then followed by a goalless draw away against St Albans City.
At the conclusion of the festive fixtures, the Hoops will make their own trip around to St Albans for their National League South fixture at Clarence Park, a 3pm kick-off on Saturday 5th January.
Updated 20:45 - 13 Mar 2019 by Oxford City FC