CITY SLICKERS ARE LOOK­ING TO MAKE A MARK

The Non-League Football Paper - - FA CUP FIRST ROUND PREVIEW - By David Richard­son

MARK Jones says he’s never tasted FA Cup glory and with his Ox­ford City side strug­gling at the wrong end of the Na­tional League South there couldn’t be a bet­ter time to write some his­tory. City haven’t reached the first round since 2011 where they went out af­ter a re­play against Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge. Now they head to League Two side Colch­ester United hop­ing to put their league woes be­hind them. Jones’ side nav­i­gated past their di­vi­sion ri­vals White­hawk and Bog­nor Regis Town in the sec­ond and fourth qual­i­fy­ing rounds with a home win over the Bostik League high-fliers Leis­ton in­be­tween. Those are the only vic­to­ries Ox­ford have had since their last league win which came on Au­gust 15, against Hunger­ford Town. “We’ve got noth­ing to lose,” he said. “We want to go there and give a good ac­count of our­selves. “One of our tar­gets was to get to the first round. An­other one was to be up and around the play-offs. We’re cer­tainly not achiev­ing that at the mo­ment. A few things have con­spired against us a lit­tle bit but we have man­aged to win three games in the FA Cup. “We can play with not much pres­sure on us this week. We feel that we are bet­ter than a team in the rel­e­ga­tion zone.” Ox­ford have never reached the sec­ond round but came close in 1999 when their re­play at Wy­combe Wan­der­ers was aban­doned be­fore a penalty shoot-out could take place af­ter a fire broke out. Wy­combe went on to win the resched­uled fix­ture at Ox­ford United’s Manor Ground and it re­mains the only tie to go to a sec­ond re­play af­ter The FA changed the re­play laws. Now, 18 years later, Colch- es­ter’s 10,000 all-seater sta­dium awaits with Jones hop­ing to make some new his­tory. He added: “I played for Ox­ford City and Ayles­bury United but I don’t re­mem­ber hav­ing a great cup run. In my short time coach­ing at Ox­ford and now as the man­ager, we haven’t done par­tic­u­larly well in the FA Cup. “This is prob­a­bly my first real ex­pe­ri­ence of hav­ing a cup run and get­ting a bit of ex­po­sure. I live in Ayles­bury and re­mem­ber as a young­ster go­ing to watch a cou­ple of their runs in the 90s. They ended up play­ing at Queens Park Rangers in the third round one year. There’s al­ways some shocks at this stage and we hope that one of them is us.”

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