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League Two Lowdown: Oxford

2 August 2013

Our look at Pompey's 2013/14 opponents continues with the Us

Meetings with Pompey
For two teams that didn’t meet each other for the first time until October 1968, Pompey and Oxford certainly made up for lost time with some memorable matches.

In that first season, two goals from substitute Mike Trebilcock and another from Ray Pointer secured a Division Two clash at Fratton Park before United gained revenge by winning 3-1 at the Manor Ground.

But perhaps the most memorable clash came in December 1984 when Jim Smith brought his table-topping side to the south coast. The visitors led 1-0 before a pitch invasion by a fan dressed as Father Christmas. In the extra time added on, Alan Biley scored twice to turn the match on its head.

Then, in November 1992, Smith – now in charge of the Blues – saw his side go up 5-2 up after 77 minutes only to end up drawing 5-5.

When Pompey played in the top tier in 1987/88 after an exile of 28 years, they lost 4-2 at the Manor Ground on the opening day.

The last competitive meeting was in December 1998 when Steve Claridge scored twice in a 2-2 draw at Fratton Park.

After playing on the opening day of the 2013/14 campaign, Pompey and Oxford will have met in all four divisions.

Oxford history
The club were formed as Headington in 1883 – adding the suffix United in 1911 after merging with Headington Quarry – as a way of keeping cricket players fit during the winter.

In 1889 they joined the Oxfordshire District League Second Division, where they competed until the outbreak of the First World War.

Headington then moved to the Oxen Senior League and then joined the Southern League in 1949, the same year they turned professional – soon becoming the first professional side to install floodlights.

They became Oxford United in 1960, winning the Southern League in two successive seasons and being elected into Division Four.

Two eighth-placed finishes followed before promotion in 1965 and then the Division Three title in 1968.

But they were relegated back to the third tier in 1976 and faced closure in the 1980s before being rescued by Robert Maxwell. He proposed a merger with Reading, but this was called off because of the opposition from both sets of supporters.

Under Jim Smith, Oxford fought back to win the Division Three title in 1984 and then the Division Two title 12 months later.

They then beat QPR 3-0 to win the League Cup in 1986, but were denied European qualification because of the ban on English clubs following the Heysel Stadium disaster.

Oxford were relegated back to the second tier in 1989 and they became insolvent following the death of Maxwell.

By 2001 they were back in the basement and they began the season at their new Kassam Stadium home, but finished it in a lowest-ever Football League position of 21st.

Worse was to come, however, and they dropped into the Conference after losing 3-2 to Leyton Orient on the final day of the 2005/06 campaign.

Ironically, Accrington – the side they had replaced in the Football League in 1962 – were one of the sides to win promotion from the Conference that season.

Oxford present
Oxford reached the play-offs in 2006, but lost to Exeter on penalties after two legs failed to separate the sides.

They led the league for most of the 2009/10 season, but a poor run of form towards the end saw them finish third.

Oxford beat Rushden & Diamonds over two legs in the play-offs, however, before a 3-1 victory over York at Wembley saw them back in the Football League.

They finished 12th and 9th in their first two seasons in League Two and finished four points adrift of the top seven in ninth place last term.

Information for Pompey fans
Away fans are housed in the North Stand – which can house up to 5,000 supporters – on one side of the ground.

The Priory pub is just behind the stadium car park, while the Holiday Express Inn can be found behind the South Stand.

Travelling by road
Postcode: OX4 4XP
Distance from Fratton Park: 85.1 miles
Estimated drive time: 1 hour 40 minutes

The stadium is well signposted form the main routes in Oxford and can be found between the Oxford Science Park and Blackbird Leys Estate. From the A423 ring road, take the A4074 towards Reading. After the roundabout with Sainsbury's on one corner, take the left turning signposted Cowley/Wallington/Oxford Science Park and you eventually come to the ground on your left. There are 1,600 car parking spaces at the stadium itself, which are free. However, the car parks tend to fill up fast, so try to arrive early if you can. An additional 400 car parking spaces are now available at the Ozone cinema and bowling alley complex adjacent to the stadium, which are also free to use.

Travelling by train
The Kassam Stadium is more than four miles from the station, but the number 5 at stop R2 takes you to the nearby Knights Road. Trains from Portsmouth stations take two hours and seven minutes, with a change at Southampton Central. The standard adult fare is £38.

League Two fixtures
Pompey v Oxford: Saturday, August 3 (3pm)
Oxford v Pompey: Saturday, January 11 (3pm)

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