Two away defeats in four days made it a bad week for the Sky Blues and pushed them back into the dog-fight at the foot of the table. The 4-1 defeat at Oxford was embarrassing and the biggest league loss since the Oldham away game last season when City succumbed to the same score. Conceding three goals in the first half is not a common occurrence but it was the first occasion since Tranmere trounced Steven Pressley's team 5-1 at Sixfields three years ago. Other infamous games that were 0-3 to the opposition at the break include the 7-1 defeat at West Brom, the 3-1 home defeat to Everton in the Premier League relegation season and the 4-1 home defeat to Bristol City in 2011. The last time City trailed 4-0 at half-time was an end of season game at Plymouth in April 2009 when Chris Coleman's team managed to keep the score at four. As far as I can ascertain no City team have trailed 0-5 at half-time.
It was City's first competitive visit to Oxford since the 1980s when the clubs met three seasons running in the old Division One. A Wayne Turner goal earned City the points in 1985-86 but the two subsequent games were won by Oxford with John Aldridge and Dean Saunders amongst the scorers.
At least the team recovered some pride at Bolton on Tuesday evening, losing 1-0 but giving a spirited second half display. The two sides had not met in a competitive game since 1998 when City recorded a 5-1 defeat at the Reebok. The defeat ended an unbeaten run of seven league and cup games in Bolton stretching back to 1965 when Wanderers beat Jimmy Hill's team 4-2 thanks to two Wyn Davies goals. Before Tuesday night City had only suffered that one defeat in the town.
Steve Bell emailed me asking for details of a friendly game at Highfield Road in 1968. City's strong youth team (they reached the final of the Youth Cup that season) were asked to play an England Youth XI to help prepare them for what was known as the Little World Cup but was actually the European Youth Championships. City's best players, Willie Carr and Graham Paddon, were missing - Paddon was playing for the England XI and Carr was in the first team squad battling relegation and wasn't risked. I have reproduced the team sheet and older fans will recall many of the opponents, some of whom were already playing league football. Newcastle's Alan Foggon and Sheffield United's Tony Currie had played First Division football with the latter recently scoring on his debut after a £26,000 move from Watford. Winger Dave Thomas had appeared for Burnley at Highfield Road earlier that season whilst Charlton's Paul Went had almost 80 league games under his belt after debuting as a 15-year old. How many 18-year olds have got those levels of experience today?Thomas and Currie both went on to win full caps for England and all but the goalkeeper Sheffield Wednesday's Gary Scothern played league football.Team sheet from the friendly game in 1968
In City's team that night there was the infamous David Icke in goal but strangely only Jeff Blockley and Trevor Gould from an outstanding team went on to make the first team.
The teams lined up as follows: City: Icke: Crossley, Hill (G), Gould (T), Blockley, Wilks, Taylor, Allen, Peachey, Dobbing, Sinclair. Sub: Farmer.
England: Scothern: Evans, Burton, Bunkell, James, Went, Hoy, Foggon, Duffy, Thomas, Paddon. Sub: Currie.City's Youth team 1968
England won the game 4-1 with goals from Duffy, Hoy, Foggon and Evans with Brian Taylor replying for City. Two months later in France England failed to get past the group stage in the Little World Cup.