Saints welcome Hoops to Clarence Park

The games keep coming thick and fast as the Saints welcome Oxford City to Clarence Park for this Saturday’s Vanarama National League South clash. 

The boys in yellow and blue go into this game on the back of an impressive 3-0 win over play-off hopefuls Bath City at Twerton Park last weekend. The Saints controlled the game from early on and took a two-goal lead into half-time thanks to quality strikes from Solomon Nwabuokei and Joe Iaciofano, before the scoring was complete mid-way through the second forty-five by Zane Banton. 

That victory was followed up with a 2-0 win over Royston Town in the Herts Senior Cup on Tuesday evening. Second half efforts from Antonis Vasiliou and Sam Merson secured City’s place in the semi-final. 

This weekend’s opponents are currently sat six points ahead of the Saints in twelfth position, and moved up to that position in the table thanks to an impressive 1-0 win over second placed side Slough Town at Arbour Park two weeks ago. Reece Fleet’s cross was nodded into his own net by Ryan Bird, ensuring that Oxford did the double of the Rebels. 

That victory halted a three-game losing streak for the Hoops and perfectly sets up Saturday’s meeting. 

Joint managers and former players Justin Merrit and Andy Ballard took over from Mark Jones in October and have overseen the Hoops’ rise up the National League South table. The duo have largely kept the squad that they inherited from Jones including two former Saints in the form of defender Tarik Moore-Azille and experienced forward Elliot Benyon, who lined up for the Saints during the 2006-07 Conference campaign. 

Neutrals will be hoping for a repeat this weekend of the reverse fixture back at Marsh Lane in December, when the two sides shared the points following a topsy-turvy 3-3 draw. The hosts took the lead on three occasions but the Saints rallied and levelled it up each time, including a dramatic 90thminute equaliser from top scorer Joe Iaciofano.

Ian Allinson may still be without James Kaloczi and Munashe Sundire for this fixture, who are both continuing their recovery from injury. The City chief has hinted that he may make a couple of changes from the side that defeated Bath, and loanee Harry Forster could start his first league game for the club after an impressive performance against Royston in mid-week.

Kick-off is 3pm and gates will be open from 1:30pm.

This game has been chosen as the club’s Celebration game in support of the ‘Football v Homophobia’ campaign.

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