It was a creditable performance (a Charlton YouTuber in fact describing City as the best side he’d seen this season) but a poor start led to City’s first defeat under the caretaker management of Kevin Nicholson and Jon Hill. With the games continuing to come thick and fast City were able to welcome Harry Kite back from injury, while Jonathan Grounds is due to return soon, but it may be yet another unchanged side that takes the field again with options limited – the only change could be Kite in for Harper, but it’s more likely Kite will start in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night as he looks to regain match sharpness.
Like Tuesday night’s opponents Charlton, Oxford go into their fixture with City in a poor run of form having lost three and drawn one of their last four in the league (as well as losing to Chelsea’s youngsters in the EFL Trophy) meaning the vultures are beginning to circle around Karl Robinson with the Us currently 20th in the table. With the exception of a 5-0 thumping of Leyton Orient in the EFL Trophy, goals have been an issue with Oxford failing to score more than twice in any league fixture so far, and just five players have found the net – Cameron Brannigan leads the way with four goals in the league (six in total). Matty Taylor is back to fitness having missed the whole of September, and Oxford fans will be hoping he solves the issues in front of goal.
City and Oxford have met in the EFL Trophy a couple of times in recent years, but the last time the sides met in the league was during the 2015/16 Oxford promotion season, and they easily despatched of City in both fixtures. The corresponding fixture was a resounding 4-1 win for the visitors, Dunkley, Bowery (2) and MacDonald before Alex Nicholls netted a consolation. The return fixture on Boxing Day had finished 3-0, but was 0-0 at half time and turned possibly on the failure of the referee to send off Chey Dunkley just before half time – Oxford subbed him at the break and went on to win with goals from Lundstram, Baldock and former City favourite Liam Sercombe. Those wins closed the gap but City still have a healthy league head to head lead with 15 wins to Oxford’s nine, 14 matches finishing level.
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: Chris Pollard
Assitant Referees: Simon Shaw and Mark Derrien
Fourth Official : James Durkin
The last time Exeter were refereed by Chris Pollard in October 2021 in a 2-2 away at Stevenage.