Sunday, 11 December 2011

Oxford City - Court Place Farm

Oxford City FC
Court Place Farm
Marsh Lane

01865 744493

Matchday Number: 40
Tuesday 21st July 1999
Oxford City 0-3 Wycombe Wanderers
Pre Season Friendly

My first visit to Oxford City was in fact the first match I drove to, having passed my driving test earlier that year. I gave a lift to a few mates and we watched as Wycombe strolled to a 3-0 victory on a warm evening. Two goals from Michael Simpson and one from Steve Brown saw Wycombe through safely. The 2 clubs played each other again about 8 years later, again in a friendly. But the game I am going to write about their is their 3-2 defeat to Farnborough in October 2008.

With Wycombe playing on Sunday it was a good chance to go and see another team in action. After working a rare-ish Saturday till 12, due to all our Muslim staff celebrating theirEid festival, I set off for the short trip to Court Place Farm, home of Southern League Oxford City.

Oxford City had 4 former Wycombe players in their side. Firstly Stuart Cattell, the young Defender on loan, who was enjoying his second spell with them. Also Ikechi Anya, Jermaine McSporran and James Faulkner who has played in various capacities over the years made up the forward 3 for the home side. I'd been to Court Place farm for a couple of preseason friendlies before which were both one comfortably by the Chairboys. And who could forget the 3 match duel against them in the FA Cup in 1999. After drawing the first game we went to a replay, that also ending in a draw and (we thought) a penalty shoot out. But just as the spot kicks were about to start a "fire" started in the main stand, and the game was abandoned. In the re arranged replay Wycombe eventually triumphed, the game being played at Oxford United's old Manor Ground.

Farnborough also had a former Wycombe player, Steve Dell who played a few games for us in 2003 under Lawrie Sanchez. The newly formed club, still playing at their original Cherrywood Road ground. After the original Farnborough Town club went bust the new club was entered into the Southern League. Despite dropping a couple of divisions they still had a sizable support present at today's game, with about 60 making the journey from Hampshire. FarnboroughTown had some good battles with Wycombe in the VauxhallConference with Wycombe mainly coming out on top, but they were always a decent side with the Conference's top scorer at the time, David Leworthy amongst their ranks. Since Wycombe's promotion to the football league their fortunes altered somewhat but looked to have altered when another former Wycombe man Graham Westley took over the club. But the joy was short lived. After changing their colours and their ground name Westley pulled out his money and went off to Stevenage Borough. The resulting dire straits eventually led to their demise, but thanks to fan power they still exist, albeit in a different guise.

It was a good game, which City had the chances to and should have won. But the officials didn't help with some poor decisions. Firstly they should have taken the lead when McSporran was wrongly ruled to have been offside. Farnborough then took the lead themselves with a well worked goal, finished off by Neville Roach. The same man then scored again, miles offside, but the linesman who must have been asleep at the time just waved play on.

So 2-0 at the break, with Oxford City looking to get back into the game. And they started the second half well, the pressure eventually leading to them reducing the arrears. James Faulkner crossed after good work by himself, setting up McSporran for the goal. Despite more pressure it was Farnborough who got the next goal, Farnborough's number 11, sporting a daft haircut raced away from the City defence before finishing well to make it 3-1. City then had another perfectly good goal ruled offside before getting a late consolation from the spot from their giant number 12, just on as a sub.

COURT PLACE FARM is a smart and modern non league ground with cover on 3 sides, with a stand holding around 300. The near end is where the bar is, and although there is cover under there it is quite a way from the pitch. There is also a small club shop, which sells basic flags/hats etc and recent Oxford City programmes.

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