Where one era ends, another must begin. It’s been quite a week at Oxford City as not only did the Hoops book their place in the First Round of the Emirates FA Cup for the third successive season, they also found out who their opponents were to be First Round. Having booked their place in the First Round of the Emirates FA Cup for the third successive season, the big news of the week came hours before the Hoops found out their First Round opponents: a change to the management team seeing Mark Jones leave the club, with Justin Merritt and Andy Ballard taking charge of the side on an interim basis.
There’s going to be no easing in for the new look Management however, as their first match in the dugout sees the form team in the MANarama National League South visit Marsh Lane: Slough Town making the relatively short journey up the M40.
Slough’s recent form in the division is quite remarkable. After 13 matches, they have recorded 7 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats, but this only tells half the story.
Their season started with three successive defeats, with two draws following to take their tally to just two points from five matches. Remarkably, they've dropped just two points since then with a run of seven league wins in eight.
Their last five matches have all seen them pick up three points, most recently with a 3-1 victory against Billericay Town and a 3-2 victory over Dartford. This rich vein of form has seen them shoot up the table, and they now sit in third place, albeit still 9 points behind runaway leaders, Wealdstone.
City may sit at the opposite end of the table at present but, while league results may not be going their way at present, they can once again take plenty of encouragement from their Emirates FA Cup run. While three of City’s last five matches have ended in victory and these have come in the cup with a 7-0 drubbing of North Leigh, a 2-0 win over Hampton & Richmond Borough, and a 2-1 win over Margate last weekend.
The Hoops may have fallen to defeat in their past two league matches, but these were both by 1-0 scorelines in tight matches which, on other days, could have easily gone the other way.
Slough took maximum pointswhen the two sides met at Arbour Park and Marsh Lane last season, the Rebels twice winning by a two-goal margin. A 2-0 defeat in Buckinghamshire didn’t pass without its controversy, but the meeting later in the season at Marsh Lane was all about George Wells’ screamer for Slough Town which earned his side all three points in the final 10 minutes.
Just a reminder that following this match, Oxford City are finally back on the road after four consecutive home matches as they make the trip down to face Dorking Wanderers at Meadowbank on Tuesday evening, before heading even further around the M25 on Saturday afternoon to face Tonbridge Angels.
But before then, we hope to see you down at Marsh Lane on Saturday afternoon for what is going to be a special afternoon for the club, not least due to it being our Charity Match with Oxford Hospitals Charity joining us this afternoon. Don’t forget that we will be donating 50% of any tickets bought online through our online ticket portal, using the special promo code ‘OUH2019’. We’d urge you to buy your tickets this way if you can, in order to help out a wonderful charity.