Having all but guaranteed mathematical safety from relegation in the National League South, Oxford City will play half of their remaining four games over the Easter period: welcoming Chelmsford City to Marsh Lane on Saturday, followed by a trip to Gosport Borough two days later on Bank Holiday Monday. The two games will provide completely contrasting challenges for The Hoops with Chelmsford safe in the play-off spots while Gosport are fighting relegation as the third bottom side in the division.
Following the terrific win two weeks ago at Bishop’s Stortford, City came crashing down last weekend as the fell to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Hampton & Richmond Borough. The Hoops experimented during this game as boss Mark Jones gave opportunities to several younger players whilst resting a lot of senior players. Jones was first to admit fault for the experiment and vowed to change again for this coming weekend. With two games in quick succession it certainly wouldn't be a surprise to see a number of changes made both days.
Saturday’s opponents Chelmsford City are having a great National League South season, sitting comfortably in the playoff spots, 9 points clear of 6th placed Hungerford Town. Since City’s move to the National League South, this particular fixture has produced a number of goals: 10 in the three games played. The sides met on the opening day of last season and saw one of the goals of the season as, seconds after the visitors had taken a 2-1 lead, Bradley Bubb scored direct from kickoff to level the scores. The following games were more one sided with City winning last season's other matchup 4-0 and Chelmsford winning 2-0 earlier this season.
Monday's opponents will provide a completely different test for The Hoops. Gosport Borough sit in 20th place, 4 points adrift of safety but, with four games left this season, this gap can easily be overturned. As a result City should expect a strong performance from Monday’s hosts as they try to ensure safety. City have not been particularly successful over Gosport in recent seasons. Our opponents won both of the Marsh Lane fixtures, with late winners deciding both those games, while the game at Privett Park last season ended as a 0-0 stalemate.
Following these two games, City will find themselves with just two fixtures remaining this season. These see The Hoops welcome Margate to Marsh Lane on 22nd April, with the final game away at Ebbsfleet on 29th April.