Oxford City will look to bounce back from the disappointment of their midweek 1-1 draw against Chippenham - a game in which they controlled the entirety of the first half without finding the back of the net - as they kick off what could be period of 5 weeks without a home game with a trip to Hampton & Richmond Borough.
The Hoops did everything but score in the opening 45 minutes of Tuesday's match, Sam Nombe denied a fabulous goal on his second debut by a stunning reflex save from Bradley House before Rob Sinclair was denied in similar fashion. Frustration turned to despair within seconds of the restart as Nat Jarvis netted from close range, but parity was eventually restored when Frankie Musonda pounced on the tiniest of mistakes from House as the 'keeper looked to gather a Josh Ashby free kick.
Hampton & Richmond also registered a midweek point, coming back from 2-0 down against Eastbourne Borough in a first half which was very much the opposite of City's. Sergio Torres struck inside 3 minutes to put the Beavers' backs to the wall, and the deficit was doubled just after the half hour mark courtesy of Dean Cox. Incredibly, the scores were level just seven minutes later: Tyrell Miller-Rodney and Chris Dickson providing the goals their side needed to claw their way back into the game and ultimately end a three-game National League South losing streak.
Previous matches between the two sides have, for the most part, been low-scoring affairs - although that's not to say they have been short of action. Last season's trip to the Beveree offered as much entertainment as its possible to pack into a 1-0 scoreline. The hosts thought they were set to take the lead twice in the first half, being denied first by the linesman's flag and then by Craig Hill's superb penalty save. When their breakthrough did come, it was once again accompanied by the linesman's flag, this time for a City free kick, but the referee eventually overruled his colleague and the goal stood. Meanwhile, Nathan Colier could have counted himself lucky not to see red for a foul on Godfrey Poku as he seemed set to race in on goal.
The 0-0 draw which followed just three months later was, unsurprisingly, tame by comparison. An ill-tempered first half brought more bookings than efforts on goal, and the second failed to deliver much more.
The 2016/17 throws up the one exception to the aforementioned pattern of low-scoring matches. The first meeting went swimmingly for the Hoops, Mike Fondop setting up Tom Winters in a 1-0 win. The return fixture at Marsh Lane, however, was an existential nightmare for the hosts as a youthful side were comprehensively beaten 5-0. Duncan Culley's 8th minute free kick set the scene, the forward eventually bagging a brace but finding himself outshone by Brendan Kiernan's hattrick.
For Oxford City, Saturday's game will be their final league game before making the long trip to Tranmere in the FA Cup. Details of how to purchase tickets and book coach travel can be found here.