Oxford City find themselves on the road once again this weekend: Brighton the destination as they take on Whitehawk FC.
The Hoops come into the game fresh from their second defeat of the season: a contentious goal from Ryan Moss the difference in Tuesday night's clash with Hampton and Richmond Borough. This, added to their opening day loss at home to St Albans, sees them among the 7 teams yet to register a point in the league.
Saturday's opponents are also members of that inauspicious club'. The Hawks suffered a heavy opening day defeat away to Hemel Hempstead, although the 3-0 scoreline may not have been a true reflection of the game, before losing 3-2 to East Thurrock at home in midweek.
The two sides have been regular opponents since City's transfer to the Southern side of the division but the tie has little history before then. Its past is Somewhat chequered with 2016's abandonment still fresh in the minds of many fans as, with the Hawks 2-1 up at half time, a floodlight failure saw the restart postponed for 45 minutes. Naturally, the referee's eventual decision to abandon the game was met almost immediately by the lights sparking back into life. The Hoops went on to lose the rescheduled tie 2-0.
City's last visit proved equally troublesome with traffic leading to the team's arrival, and therefore kickoff, being delayed. In the game itself, The Hoops were left to rue a number of first half misses as Danny Mills' brace and a further goal from Reece Connolly consigned them to the bottom two.
Last season's meeting at Marsh Lane, however, was a much happier story for The Hoops. In great form and high on confidence, City left it late to break through but were able to secure the 3 points which all but guaranteed their survival as Jefferson Louis lobbed Lucas Covolon in the dying moments.
Speaking after Tuesday night's game, Mark Jones took some time to reflect on his side's performances so far:
“Tuesday's defeat was disappointing – they were a good side who got the ball forward quickly but I feel like we dealt with that for the most part. We played better than we did against St Albans and on a other night the foul on Poku might be a sending off and there's been a foul on McEachran which is maybe a second booking for McAuley – both of those could have changed the game. But, we can't look for excuses; they'll say that they had a goal disallowed and a penalty saved so it evens out.
We're close to being a good side but things aren't quite happening for us. We're getting a lot of praise from our opponents in terms of the style of football we're trying to play but of course we don't want is to keep getting a pat on the head for being a 'good footballing side' and not winning the games. We're not a development side and we have to win matches.
Obviously there will be questions asked having lost the first two games of the season but I do believe we're close.
We need a result at Whitehawk on Saturday to get us going and start our season off. We've not looked a million miles away in either game. We know the areas where we need to improve so we've got to stick together, believe in what we're doing and the results will turn.”