Saturday 8th September dawned a bright and sunny day. Was a trip to the Kassam in order? Having done the ground before and trying to ration away games to only those grounds that I’ve not previously visited then this match wasn’t suppose to be on the list. I’d only been the once previously and that was a September evening back in the Conference in 2007, the game coming straight after a 4-0 drubbing at Kidderminster. TV cameras there as we were the live match. Having missed the dramatic play off semi-final at the Kassam the previous season I had to be there to make up for it, knowing full that it would not be the same. But Exeter City recovered from being 2-0 down to finish 2-2 with almost the last kick of the game. Another dramatic night at the Kassam.
So how could I not go? It might have been FA Cup weekend, but being only 50 miles away, it had to be considered. What if it was another game full of drama? Decision made then, Oxford United away had to be done.
Having parked up at the Kassam Stadium, a short walk to the Priory Pub was in order.Loads of Oxford United fans were mingling with a goodly number of Grecians. Some good ales were on offer (my choice was the Cumberland ale), and more importantly plenty of friends to talk to. Through twitter I managed to meet up for the first time with a number of Twitter friends, so a bonus to the afternoon!
The sun shone, and was able to get some recording done for the Grecian Talk podcast. Maybe it was the sunshine, but there was genuine optimism about the match. I don’t think it was just because it was Oxford, who we have an excellent record against, but coming in to the game having won 3 games on the bounce. Also a good chance to have a look at the new away shirt. Which looked excellent, and look forward to picking mine up next Saturday. Need to check that the ironed on logos from the next shirt isn’t on the one you buy.
A long queue to get in, always a good sign that there will be a good turn out of Grecians, and thankfully the queue was in the shade!
As to the match. The 695 Exeter City fans saw another dramatic game, and another win on the road. 3 wins is already 1 more than last season. The run from “young” Cureton for the first one, came from within our half. 2/3rds of the pitch he had to run, and he could have passed it to Liam Sercombe who was there with him on the right. Instead he used the undoubted confidence he has to blast it in to the back of the net. Another staggeringly brilliant goal. The second goal was from a disputed corner, and Sercs dropped the ball from the corner on to Scot Bennett’s head for 2-0. City fans in delirium mode.
The officials were booed off by United fans, and no doubt the players headed for a roasting by their manager. The second half started much the same way with Oxford dominant. However, it didn’t take long for Cureton to extend our lead to an astonishing 3-0 lead. O’Flynn flicked the ball on for Cureton to slip the ball past the keeper, however for the viewing City fans it did seem to take ages to roll over the line and in to the net. Job done. Or was it?
It took 5 more minutes for Oxford to remember they were also supposed to be playing. Woodman upending one of their players, and then Forster-Caskey scoring the result penalty (watch it here). Then 8 minutes later, Potter was able to take advantage of a City defence all at sea to bring it back to 3-2. A nervous 9 minutes ensued for the City team, and the previously noisy City fans went quiet.
However, this only lasted 9 minutes, a long ball from Sercs on the right found O’Flynn who confidently hit the ball passed their keeper to make it 4-2. With Constable being sent off on 80 minutes, the Oxford team gave up on the game, and City enjoyed the last 10 minutes passing the ball around the pitch.
So, well worth the visit, and another game at the Kassam that will live on in the memory. Some great performances from Bennett, Cureton, Oakley, O’Flynn and Sercombe. Plus an exceptional performance from the 695 Grecians.
Rather than head straight home, and in to the jam to get out of the car park, a trip back to the Priory was in order to celebrate another great City win with friends.
Can we play at the Kassam more often please?
Further audio match reports can be heard on the Grecian Talk podcast, including one from Bay FM presenter Mark Briggs (@MarkBriggsRadio on Twitter)