Halifax Town 0 Us 3

It’s a common catcall from the stands that “we should be beating this shit”. This probably means, in part, “we, with our relative financial power, should be beating this team with its relative financial power”. This, in part, is true; although if money were the only factor in success, then Newcastle would be the 14th best club in the world.

In part the call probably means “we (as in, with the spirits of Joey Beauchamp, Matt Elliot, John Aldridge et al ghosting around the pitch) should be beating them (without such luminaries on their side). Our history counts for nothing, of course, a theme I’ve returned to a number of times.
The fact is, following yesterday’s comprehensive victory over Halifax, we are now beating teams we should be beating. This is opposed to losing, through ability and complacency, to teams we should be beating as it was earlier in the season.
Equally, we’re losing to teams we want to be competing with. The Conference for the last couple of years has been characterised by one dominant team (Dagenham, Aldershot), 5-6 competent play-off contenders, 3-4 relegation certainties, and a whole pile of dross in the middle.
For next season, of course, we really want to be sitting out front preparing for league football. If we can’t do this then we need to be comfortably in the pack for the play-offs. This means breaking into, then competing with the mini-league of play-off contenders. 
For most of the season we’re been deep in the mire of the dross, some distance from the play-offs. It would appear we’re approaching the border between the dross and the play-off contenders. How we compete with the likes of Stevenage and Torquay will give us a good indication of what is needed over the summer to give us a good season next year.

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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