Own goal knocks Oxford City out of FA Cup
In an FA Cup 2Q Replay tonight in front of 228, Oxford City lost 2-1 at home to fellow National South side Bath City after extra time. Bath had scored a late equaliser in the first game on Saturday and Oxford took the lead tonight when Mike Fondop sent a looping header over the keeper after 21 minutes, but Bath equalised five minutes later through Frankie Artus. In an even first half Marvin Morgan nearly gave the visitors the lead when his shot grazed the cross bar. Oxford started the second half very brightly, Fondop hit the post early on and they threatened to overrun their opponents who defended very well. Marvin Morgan again hit the post, with a header, before Bath’s Shaquille Hunter was sent off for flattening the Oxford left back with sixteen minutes to play. Bath held on and scored a lucky winner at the end of the first period of extra time, when Oxford right back Godfrey Poku diverted a shot over his keeper. Bath pick up £4500 in prize money and travel to Potters Bar Town in the next round.
After a disappointing second half of last season, a lot of players left Oxford in the summer, among the new recruits is Scott Davies who has had two loan spells with the Chairboys. He is the captain and plays the midfield general role, spraying the ball around, and his class stands out at this level. When I saw him last season for Wealdstone he was barrel shaped but he has slimmed down and has turned his life around after coming through rehab for his gambling addiction. He recently went public with his problem, how he finished training at lunchtime and spent the rest of the day, until late evening, at the bookies. He would come in at half time place bets, and looked forward to the card schools on the long coach journeys more than the game. He no longer gambles and has regained his appetite for playing. He has a regular Monday to Friday job and works for the PFA, warning youth players of league clubs on the dangers of gambling.
Off the pitch it has been a torrid last few months for Oxford City. In May their former President Thomas Guerriero was jailed for 12 years in Florida for masterminding a $6.6 million telemarketing fraud, a classic ‘boiler room’ operation, persuading retired people to part with, and lose, their life savings. He had stepped down from the club last December due to ‘ill health’ and had pleaded guilty to the charges in February. Then in July long serving Managing Director Colin Taylor was found hanged at the club one Sunday morning. Police say there were no suspicious circumstances, a full inquest takes place in November.
In the programme was an article on ‘why the crowds don’t exactly flock to watch The City’, with a graph on the average attendances for the last 24 seasons, since moving to Marsh Lane. In fact the average is on the up, from a low of less than 150 in their final Isthmian League days, 13 years ago, to around 300 now. The club is a big operation, it lists 25 different teams of all ages on its website, and has excellent community facilities, but it cannot seem to attract the 500+ crowds it would like.