Oxford City will look to get back to winning ways this weekend as they welcome Bath City to Marsh Lane following two consecutive losses on the road. The fixtures between the Hoops and the Romans at Marsh Lane have tended to end 1-1; all three league fixtures played in Oxfordshire between the sides have ended with this scoreline, an FA Cup replay also ended one goal apiece after 90 minutes two seasons ago.
City have fallen to defeat in their last two matches, both of which have been on the road. Following up from the 3-2 loss at Welling United, City ended on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline at Slough Town. While many would not complain at the overall result, the circumstances surrounding the goals were of a real frustration to Mark Jones. “We certainly weren’t helped by the officials, a very poor penalty decision given against us and I thought a harsh sending off before half time didn’t help our cause at all”. City fought back well in the second half, however with the man disadvantage were unable to cause the Slough defence enough to cause any problems.
The Hoops have proved to be a much more effective side at home so far this campaign, 10 of the 11 points they have earned so far have come on the Marsh Lane artificial surface, just picking up a solitary point on the road at Weston-super-Mare.
Saturday’s opponents also boast a much better home record than on the road. In fact, they top the home table having picked up 12 points from their five matches played at Twerton Park, a defeat on the opening day to Dartford the only blemish on what is otherwise a perfect record. This is contrasted with three defeats in four on the road. They did pick up a win on the second Saturday of the season as they ran out 1-0 winners at Hampton & Richmond, however they have fallen to defeat at Torquay United, Chelmsford City and East Thurrock United, all to a 1-0 scoreline.
A Matt Paterson penalty rescued a point for the Hoops the last time these two sides met at Marsh Lane. Ross Stearn put the Romans ahead on the stroke of the interval, a layoff from Nat Jarvis allowing the midfield to slam past Craig King. However, a rash challenge on Rob Sinclair just inside the box after the hour mark allowed Paterson to stroke home confidently to earn his side a draw.
There is a break from league action following this match as the FA Cup campaign will begin for the Hoops. City welcome Cray Valley Paper Mills to Marsh Lane next Saturday for the Second Qualifying Round clash, 3pm kick-off.
Mark Jones is looking forward to getting back to home comforts:
“We know that it’s going to be a tough game against Bath on Saturday, they are in good form sitting in 7th in the table, so its been a positive start from them.
We are pleased to be back playing at home and trying to improve on our performance from last week. Our home record has been pretty good this year, so we need to look forward to the game on Saturday, try and be positive and get on the front foot, and see if we can cause Bath some problems.”
He knows there is plenty of room for improvement however:
"We want to produce a better performance than we did last Saturday at Slough. We had a chat to players this week and we agree that we didn’t hit the heights that we are capable of.
We always try and give an honest assessment of our performance and I know we can do better. I thought second half we gave it a bit more of a go and the ten men worked hard and I was reasonably pleased with how we approached it with ten men.
We’ve got to try and start games more positively and cause teams more problems.
We’re looking forward to a home game, we’ll hopefully get a good crowd, Bath no doubt will bring a few, and we want to try and get back to winning ways if we possibly can."
Finally, alongside the suspended Joe Oastler, the City boss gives an update on the other sidelined players:
"Rob Sinclair and Abraham Eze still remain out. Rob is making good progress but he’s still a couple of weeks away."
Updated 18:02 - 5 Oct 2018 by Oxford City FC