Well, Saturday didn’t quite go to plan, did it? But Oxford City don’t have to wait long to try and bounce back from their opening day defeat as they are straight into their first away match of the season this evening with the relatively short trip over to Chippenham Town for a 19:45 kick-off at Hardenhuish Park.
Saturday’s opening league match of the season saw the Hoops fall to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Concord Rangers at Marsh Lane – the visitors picking up their first win at Marsh Lane since the two teams became league rivals five seasons ago.
Despite a good start from the Hoops, the Beachboys took control of the match from the half-hour mark and took the lead right on the stroke of half time through Joel Nouble, before Kreshniq Krasniqi and Joe Gardner added second half strikes to send the Hoops to an opening day defeat.
Should there be any goals during this evening’s game, it will mean that one, or both of the teams on show will have registered their first strike of the season. Obviously with City failing to score in their 3-0 defeat, Chippenham Town also drew a blank on Saturday as they battled out to a goalless draw with St Albans City at Clarence Park.
The Bluebirds were only denied all three points in their encounter by an assistant referee ruling out a David Pratt header from a free-kick, for offside. Both sides had opportunities with Will Richards, Karnell Chambers and Pratt going closest for Chippenham, while ex-Hoop Bobson Bawling could only fire over twice for St Albans in reply.
Last time the two sides met, a single Kabongo Tshimanga goal was the difference in a tight game at Hardenhuish Park. After a first half that saw Will Puddy pull off a magnificent save from Tshimanga, and Nat Jarvis power a penalty against the post, it was a set-piece that was the difference.
A deep Josh Ashby corner was headed goalwards by Joe Oastler, however, with it destined for Puddy’s gloves, a lurking Tshimanga was able to flick it past the ex-City loanee and into the roof of the net.
The sides shared the spoils when they met at Marsh Lane earlier in the season however, with Frankie Musonda cancelling out Jarvis’ early second half strike. After a dominant first half display from the Hoops, they actually found themselves behind within a minute of the restart as Jarvis was in the right place to poke past King.
However, it was another corner that brought about City’s equaliser. Rather fortuitously, Brad House in the Chippenham goal dropped a catch right at Musonda’s feet, allowing him a simple tap in from all of one yard.
Oxford City will be on the road once again on Saturday afternoon as they get their longest trip of the season out of the way early, with a trip to Eastbourne Borough. Kick-off at Priory Lane will be at 3pm.
Mark Jones, speaking to the Oxford Mail this morning, was disappointed with his side on Saturday, however credited Concord’s tactics:
“It was a disappointing start. Concord got their tactics spot on, they pressed and didn’t allow us to play out. They forced us to go longer into our striker Stefan Brown and we became disjointed.”
“I think there was perhaps a little bit of nervousness from the players. It was our first game at home and we didn’t want to be beaten, but that showed in the way we played. We were not brave enough in possession, there wasn’t enough creativity and it was a poor result.
“It’s gone now, we can’t do too much about it apart from analyse a few bits, but it’s important not to go too over the top and change too much after the first game.”
Despite Saturday’s result, Jones is not panicking and doesn’t expect to make wholesale changes:
“We won’t start changing everything we want to do after one game. I think we’ve just got to keep working on things, specifically patterns of play.”
“We know we can play better and we’re looking for a reaction. It’s really good we’ve got a game straight away, because you just want to get back out there and put right some of the things that went wrong on Saturday.”
“We’ve got to react very well and try to get a good result – we’re capable of doing that.”