A five-star performance from Oxford City sets up an Emirates FA Cup tie with Tranmere

Wednesday 24 Oct 2018
Oxford City hosted Hemel Hempstead Town in their Emirates FA Cup replay on Tuesday evening
Luke Weir-FA-Young-Reporters-Club

Luke Weir is an 18-year-old student studying multi-media sports journalism at UCFB Wembley. He is a big football fan and writes content for Fresh Press Media and the National League Under 19 Alliance website. Luke is part of The FA Young Reporters’ Club.

Oxford City and Hemel Hempstead Town originally met last Saturday in the Emirates FA Cup fourth round qualifying, when they drew 1-1 with City lucky to rescue a replay.

The draw for the first round proper then took place on Monday evening with both sides knowing what was at stake from Tuesday's replay – a trip to League Two side Tranmere Rovers.

Oxford City 5-0 Hemel Hempstead Town
  • The Emirates FA Cup
  • Fourth Round Qualifying replay
  • Tuesday 23 October 2018
  • Court Place Farm, Oxford
  • Winning club receives £25,000

A crowd of 405, about 100 more than the usual average at Oxford’s Court Place Farm, poured into the stadium and there was a friendly family atmosphere throughout the ground.

The importance of the occasion to Oxford City was wholly evident, with the club house end under the floodlights packed with supporters, and cheap tasty food on sale at the tuck shop.

After a tight opening to the game, City opened the scoring 20 minutes in when a Josh Ashby corner was met by Udoka Godwin-Malife who headed it towards goal and the ball eventually crossed the line after a goalmouth scramble.

Hemel responded well and controlled possession for the remainder of the first half, but rarely troubled City goalkeeper Craig King.

And they started the second half much brighter but were soon caught on the counter when Rob Sinclair played a one-two with Zac McEachran before rounding the keeper and slotting home from a tight angle.

Hemel heads dropped, and the hosts were now in control, adding a third with about 15 minutes to play. Following a poor goalkick from ex-Hoop Laurie Walker, City’s Reece Fleet played it over the top to substitute Craig Fasanmade who found the back of the net after a one-on-one with the keeper.

Fasanmade was one of four players who came through the Oxford youth ranks to feature in the win and manager Mark Jones explained just how proud he is of his young side.

Court Place Farm was the venue for Tuesday's game in Oxford

“Sometimes people do forget we are a young side, the average age of the squad is 22. We haven’t got a single player over 30,” he said.

Hemel’s evening was summed up when a free header from James Kaloczi was cleared off the line when it looked easier to score.

A Hemel fan even told me that she “[couldn’t] believe these were the same two sides that played on Saturday.”

The fourth came soon after with some great build up play by the hosts. Both full-backs were involved, with Ben Jefford drilling it across from the left to find an unmarked Kyran Wiltshire who grabbed his first goal for the club.

Oxford then completed a great display with a fifth goal in injury time, as Josh Ashby found Sinclair who curled home from six yards to get his second of the game.

The Hoops have now progressed to the first round for two years running and will want to avenge their heart-breaking defeat to Notts County in the second round last year.

City will be hopeful going into their first round tie by knowing that they are capable of challenging League Two sides, having done so last year in the first round by beating Colchester 1-0.

If you're aged between 18 and 24 and are interested in joining The FA's Young Reporters' Club, please e-mail Editorial@TheFA.com with an excerpt from an essay, match report or interview you have written. Tell us a bit about yourself, too, and we may well get in touch with you ahead of the next round.
By Luke Weir at Court Place Farm