Weymouth 2 Yellows 2, Sudbury 0 Yellows 2, Yellows 1 Stevenage 1

Cooper, Osman, Mills, Thijssen, Butcher, Murhen, Wark, Mariner, Brazil, McCall, Gates.

For reasons I may have previously gone into, but can’t be bothered to check, I did go through a period in the late seventies, early eighties of being an Ipswich Town fan. It coincided with their glory years under Bobby Robson.

Although I’ve had an association with Oxford since I was tiny, my interest really turned in the early eighties at which point we also entered a period latterly known as the glory years.

On both occasions it was complete happenstance. I subsequently went through my early adolescence thinking that supporting football was about exciting successful teams.

Anyway, as an Ipswich fan I was regularly seduced by their European exploits. Europe was literally miles away, the commentaries were crackily and distant. The teams AZ Alkmaar, Saint Ettienne, Borussia Moenchengladbach wore weird and wonderful kits.

In the back of Shoot magazine there would occasionally be adverts for replica shirts. I’d look at them longingly, those and the NASL shirts, hoping that I would get one for Christmas. I’d make lists of my favourites, narrowing them down the ones that had the Adidas stripes and matching tracksuit top.

On Christmas day I invariably would get a tracksuit, it would be plain blue with two stripes not three. It had probably come from the local sports shop and would now be illegal, such was its fire risk. My mum couldn’t see the subtle differences, but why should she?

Which is how I feel about the Chris Wilder appointment. For all the talk of John Ward, Steve Cotterill and Matt Elliot, Chris Wilder is a pretty underwhelming appointment. When Kelvin Thomas said he wanted somebody who had already done it, nobody thought he meant managing a failing former league team with an x in its name.

Still, let’s face it, we’ve tried everything else in the last 10 years. The returning messiah, the internal appointment, the former legends, the international big name, etc. etc. etc. None of its worked.

So, good luck to him. He’s got a bit of form, we’re at least steady following the draw with Weymouth, win against Sudbury and Saturday’s run-of-the-mill mid-table draw with Stevenage. Let’s give him a go.

Yellows 0-1 Weymouth, 6-3 Eastbourne, 0-2 Wrexham

In isolation, the defeat to Wrexham was predictable and shouldn’t, in itself, be a cause for worry. There is likely to be a renewed vigour surrounding them at the start of the season – that curious phenomenon of any relegated team – and, well, we’ve never really excelled at the Racecourse Ground.

What was less predictable is that we would fail to pick up points against Weymouth or Barrow. This has left us in an odd position. Statistically, we should be worrying – this is relegation form and we’ve been playing relative lightweights. More considered analysis would suggest that this can’t last.

Having not seen a single kick of this season, I’m probably not in a position of great authority to judge, but objectively it would appear that there is a serious problem in defence. Especially given that the only points we’ve got have come from the 6-3 bizzare-athon against Eastbourne.

The bellowing form of Billy Turley, who I still suspect is not that far from tipping over the metaphorical hill, is perhaps more influential in marshalling the defence than it would sometimes appear. He always seems to me to be an irritant – but that’s probably because I would want to punch someone at work who yelled at me constantly for 90 minutes.

Patterson’s observation about Luke Foster appears well made too. Jim Smith was hardly backwards in his criticism of Foster this time last year. He appears to summer badly and perhaps it’s his attitude rather than ability, that needs keeping in check.

Fear not, I join the relegation battle on Monday against Woking which is surely set to be a humdinger, if past encounters are to be considered.

Weymouth 0 Us 1, Torquay 3 Us 2, Us 5 Farsley Celtic 1

Part of my pre-match ritual is to buy a carb-filled calorific lunch from a local garage. It’s not good for me, but I generally look after myself, so I justify it as part of the matchday experience.

As I walked up the Grenoble Road, for the last time on a Saturday this season, I was conscious that I felt lethargic and bloated. It might have been the junk food; it may have been the prospect of the forthcoming ninety minutes.

In fact, yesterday’s football fare was an enjoyable romp (for the record, the sandwich was a little stale). It was almost like a pre-season friendly. Farsley were probably the worst team to have come to the Kassam since we dropped into the Conference; which would make them the worst team we’ve ever seen at the stadium. With no pressure to play with, it was an opportunity for the players to stretch their legs and play with a bit of flair. In the spirit that you can only beat what’s in front of you, it was a very satisfactory afternoon.

Like a pre-season friendly you resist the temptation of attaching any meaning to the result, but secretly you hope that it is significant. Following the win at Weymouth and a ‘competitive defeat’ at Torquay our journey out of the shadows would appear to still be on track, if not yet complete or motoring. It will be interesting to see what we’re like playing with pressure; although that won’t be tested until August at the earliest.

Us 0 Weymouth 1

I hate games like Tuesday’s – and not just because of the defeat. Whilst pretty much the rest of football took the night off, we had to plod our way through another fixture. Seeing what’s happening around the country, and how it’s affecting you, is all part of match day experience. Playing in isolation places into stark relief what we are witnessing – two poor teams sleepwalking their way through a poor game in poor conditions.

There was a muted response at the end of the game; most seemed happy that it was out of the way and we could go home. Some still displayed the eyeballs out, pulsating vein, purple faced anger, but precious few.

Characteristically this group of angry-fans is younger than average. Perhaps their response is just the naivety of youth, maybe it’s a Sky sponsored learnt behaviour where passion should be displayed as hysterical aggression. This is the sort of thing that looks great when showing a quick edit promotional montage for the Super Sunday game between Middlesborough and Wigan. Maybe it’s because few of these people will have actually seen a successful Oxford United team and cannot square-off why they waste so much time, expense and energy on something so awful.

Those of us who have been around a little longer, have seen success, and, to a point, can justify all this – we drank in the good times, it is our responsibility to be there during the sour times as well. We can, at least, take some comfort in our memories.

Wey hey!

I once watched a game during the Atkins-era from the South Stand Upper and could barely concentrate for watching the dour Brummie practically playing on the wing. He’d appeal for every throw-in as if it was a last minute penalty in the World Cup final. Jim Smith is the same, although his style is more a man exasperated by life, which you suspect would be the same whether presiding over Oxford in a slump or Barcelona on a winning streak.

Whilst it might offer a different perspective on the pattern of the game, Smith’s decision to come down to the touchline at half time may be significant in the way we have played this season. There’s a lot of nonsense spoken by the footballing fraternity about how players are on their own when the cross the fabled white line, but that’s not necessarily true. The manager still has the opportunity to tweak the performance; warn players that are drifting out of position, calm them down when they’re pumping the ball forward in desperation, encourage them and put pressure on the referee. All good managers are animated on the touchline, they don’t wait until half-time to make changes.

Uncharacteristically, we were bright from the start yesterday and able to cement our superiority from the first minute. The presence of Darren Patterson prowling the technical area seemed to make a difference, perhaps it was as simple as his white shorts and socks, but he was there and involved in a way that was never obvious with Andy Awford. Patterson looks like he can make a contribution on the touchline rather than just be a sounding board for the manager.

Yesterday’s win was an all round cathartic experience, showing for the first time in months that we can really dominate a game and capitalise. We scored from headers, from set pieces, without the aid of penalties, Duffy or Burgess. The timing is good; it all but secured the spot in the play-offs meaning we can relax a bit for the final three games. We need to go into the play-offs with nothing to fear, and this can only help.