Chelmsford City continue their Vanarama National League South programme with a 3rd consecutive home game when we play Oxford City tonight, Monday 12th September (7.45pm kickoff).

After Saturday’s game at Bath was called off due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the National League confirmed yesterday that the fixture programme would resume as from Monday 12th September. A minute’s silence will take place before the game tonight in memory of Queen Elizabeth II.

City had an unbeaten August with 4 wins and 2 draws but were defeated for the first time in their last game but it was a 3-4 thriller against Havant & Waterlooville, who look the most likely to challenge Ebbsfleet United for the title at the end of the season.

The opposition

Oxford City are in their 8th season in the Vanarama National League South after being in the National League North for 3 seasons after their promotion from the Southern League in 2012. After their first 5 seasons in the division ended in bottom-half finishes in the league, they reached the playoffs last campaign, finishing 5th with 69 points from 40 games. After beating Eastbourne in the 1st playoff round, they were beaten 3-0 by eventual playoff winners Dorking in the semi-final. This season has been a mixed bag in terms of results with 4 wins and 3 defeats in their opening 7 games. After an opening day defeat at home to St Albans, they then won 4 games in a row, keeping a clean sheet in all of them. This came to a shuddering halt when they were beaten 5-0 at Welling and then they lost to a last kick of the game goal at Chippenham in a 1-0 reverse. These results means they are currently 8th in the Vanarama National League South.

Oxford City have one of the youngest managers in English football, with boss Ross Jenkins just 31 years old. He was appointed caretaker in January 2022 after the surprise departure of David Oldfield to Weymouth but then as Oxford continued their playoff push, he was appointed permanently in March. Jenkins, just like his namesake, played for Watford 90 times, and then had spells in Bulgarian, Norwegian, Romanian and Scottish football before having to retire in 2018. Oxford City is his first managerial role.

In terms of players, former Havant keeper Ben Dudzinski continues in goal. In defence they have brought in St Kitts and Nevis international Andre Burley from Wycombe after a loan spell at Hungerford last campaign. They have also brought in Tom Harrison from Gloucester and Australian left-back Lewis Miccio from Bedford. Canice Carroll and Charlie Rowan continue from last season. In midfield they still have long serving players such as Reece Fleet, Josh Ashby and Zac McEachran but they have brought in former PSG youngster Jean-Baptiste Fischer from Wycombe and Aaron Williams-Bushell from Maldon & Tiptree who can play full-back as well. Up front they still have Joe Iaciofano who scored 22 league goals last season, but has only made 2 appearances so far this term. Most of the goalscoring has been done by Greek striker Kladi Lolos who has scored 5 in 7 this campaign already. Lolos, who is 6’3″, played for Plymouth and Torquay in recent campaigns and struggled for goals but has hit the ground running this season. Academy forward Gerald Muchechetere also got 2 goals in the 5-0 win over Concord.

Manager Ross Jenkins said after the late defeat at Chippenham last Tuesday, “I thought it was a hardened game and both teams competed well. Both teams had good spells and it was a good watch for the neutral. We got into their box quite a few times but couldn’t find the cutting edge. I think you’re looking at it 90th minute you shake hands and take a point but the end was really disappointing. All sides of the stadium saw it wasn’t a penalty so I’m not sure what the referee saw. It’s cost us points tonight. We’ll pick out the good parts, prepare for training and go again next week. We’re not going to let one poor decision mess our season up as we’ve got plenty of games left.”

Previous meetings

Oxford City have had the upper hand in the Vanarama National League South with only 3 wins for Chelmsford out of 13 meetings between the two teams since Oxford were transferred to the South from the North in 2015. We also met them in the FA Trophy as well which ended up in November 2018, which ended up in a 4-0 loss for City. In our first meeting on the opening day in 2015 we went 2-1 up through Charlie Henry but immediately from kick-off Bradley Bubb lobbed then City keeper Ashley Timms from the half-way line and the game finished 2-2, a goal which went viral on Youtube. City’s last win against Oxford was in March 2019 when current Clarets assistant-manager Mickey Spillane scored the winner on his 100th Chelmsford appearance. The game in February 2021 between the two teams was notable as it was the last game played by both clubs in the 2020-21 season before it was finally cancelled due to Covid. City last season drew 1-1 at Oxford with Adam Morgan scoring a last-gasp equaliser. At Melbourne, City took the lead through Tom Blackwell but succumbed to a 2-1 loss.

Team News                                                                                                                                                     

City have had 9 days without a game so could have some players back fit. Cameron James and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb have both been injured with Henry Ochieng stepping in at right back. Ovie Ejeheri could be fit but Jacob Marsden has done well in his place so Robbie Simpson has a choice to make in goal. Khale Da Costa made a sub appearance from the bench against Havant so he is back in contention. Callum Jones is set for a long spell on the sidelines with a fractured ankle. Anisius Lewis has joined Hullbridge Sports on loan.

Tickets are now available to be purchased in advance of the 7.45pm kick off tonight and can be bought at this link: https://ticketpass.org/event/ESTGUP/chelmsford-city-fc-v-oxford-city.

Adult – £13
Senior (65+) – £9
Concession – £9
Full-Time Student – £5
Youth (12-17) – £5
Under-12s – Free

Entry can also be purchased at the turnstiles on the night at the Melbourne Community Stadium.

Ticket prices on the night:

Adult – £15
Senior (65+) – £10
Concession – £10
Full-Time Student – £5
Youth (12-17) – £5
Under-12s – Free

A programme will be available to purchase on the day for £3 or a digital subscription to The Claret can be purchased here.

Where to follow the game…

The Club will be only providing coverage of the game on Twitter (@OfficialClarets) using the hashtag #TheClarets.

There will also be live audio commentary from Radio Clarets.

Post-match reports and interviews will be found on the club website, social media and ClaretsTV following the game.