So this is the big one. Everything is riding on this weekend's clash with Port Vale – fail to win and our season is over; even a win won't be enough if Aldershot fail to get anything from Crewe (who are currently unbeaten in 15 games). And yet there's still that chance. Here's Matt Peck to preview the match that will decide our fate.
Port Vale: WDLWL (7 pts)
Oxford: LDDDL (3pts)
Times played (at Port Vale): 11
Port Vale: 7
Port Vale: 18
Last league Result (At Port Vale): (12 March 2011)
Port Vale 1 v 2 Oxford
Richards (27’) Midson (33)
Reverse Fixture: Oxford 2 – 1 Port Vale
The reverse fixture between these two will be remembered for Peter Leven’s extraordinary strike from the half way line giving Oxford the lead they had surrendered just minutes earlier.
Last season saw Oxford win at Vale for the only the third time in the history of the fixture, and the first victory since 1989, where the score was also 1-2. Five visits later, Oxford finally managed to grab the 3 points again from Vale Park.
Oxford have hit a bad run at the worst point of the season, without a win since their trip to Accrington and with a bad end to an indifferent home campaign the U’s need to end the season on a high.
Port Vale have the fewest draws at home this season with just three stalemates, compared with Oxford, who have eight away draws. A stalemate is unlikely, and unwanted, especially by the U’s.
Oxford have the strongest defence away from home going into the last game of the season, keeping a clean sheet for 45% of their games, a rapid improvement on last season where they were ranked 13th on away defence with a clean sheet 30% of the time.
Oxford simply have to make it a 4th win at Vale stand any chance of the playoffs. The first two wins for the U’s at Port Vale were back to back (1983 and 1989) so they need a repeat of 25 years ago.
The crucial game for Oxford is further north at Crewe where the Shots travel for the last day of the season. This fixture has a very short history dating back to 2009. Both teams have won once at Gresty Road, Crewe scoring four goals in the two matches, to Aldershot’s three.