Oxford City face a return to league action tonight as they host Truro City at Marsh Lane.
The Hoops will be looking to put the disappointment of their excruciatingly late FA Cup defeat at the hands of Notts County; a pain which their opponents will perhaps be better placed than most to empathise with having been on their own dream cup run this season.
Saturday's game saw City come back from behind twice thanks to goals from Rob Sinclair and Matt Paterson, only for Jorge Grant's 95th minute tap-in to deny them a hard-earned replay. Truro, meanwhile, fell in the first round; acquitting themselves extremely well in a 3-1 defeat at League One's Charlton Athletic.
Turning our attentions back to the league, the two sides have had very different fortunes during their league campaigns. The White Tigers currently sit in 4th place and, with tonight's match acting as their game in hand over the top three, would see a win propel them into 2nd. They have, however, suffered a dip in form over the last two games with tough games against high-flying Braintree and playoff-chasing St Albans yielding only a single point.
Meanwhile, The Hoops come into the game in their best league form of the season so far: unbeaten in four games having recorded vital wins against strong sides in the shape of Chelmsford City and Wealdstone. Their last midweek outing, a 0-0 draw away to Bognor Regis Town, could be seen as a missed opportunity to pull clear of the relegation battle but they remain clear of danger on goal difference with two games in hand.
The history of matches between the two sides makes for short but interesting reading. Having only shared a single season in the Southern League back in 2010, a season where the White Tigers came out on top with a 2-1 victory and a 1-1 draw, their four meetings in the National League South have yielded plenty of goals.
The sides' first meeting of the 2015/16 season fell kindly for City fans, falling on a bank holiday and therefore easing what would have otherwise been a fairly arduous trip down South (and West). They were, however, rewarded handsomely as the Hoops fired six past their shell-shocked opponents including a hat-trick for Vinny Mukendi which proved to be the only highlight in an otherwise short and inauspicious City career for the striker. The White Tigers were able to exact some measure of revenge in the return fixture – also, incidentally, a somewhat unkind midweek trip to Oxfordshire – with a battling 2-1 victory under the lights.
Last season's two ties make for slightly less palatable reading from a City perspective as the Hoops came away with just a single point. This wasn't for a lack of trying: a good performance at home saw many good opportunities spurned and a Mike Fondop goal disallowed before Aaron Bentley bundled home a corner to give the visitors the lead. The Hoops went on to dominate the chances but it still took a penalty to beat Tom McHale as the scores finished level. In the return fixture, the Hoops found themselves 3-0 down before the hour mark but a late rally stopped Truro from running wild: a triple sub from Mark Jones helping his side bring the scores back to a more respectable 3-2, but still failing to secure any points.