Address: Marsh Lane, Marston, Oxford, OX3 0NQ
Telephone: 0793 742 3781
Club Nickname: City
Year Ground Opened: 1993
Home Kit: Blue And White Hoops
Opened in 1993 the Marsh Lane Football Ground is quite an open one. On one side is the Main Stand. This covered all seated stand runs for just over half the length of the pitch. It contains four rows of seating and has windshields to either side. The main disappointment is there a large number of supporting pillars running across the front of it. Opposite is a small covered terrace that is around the same size of the Main Stand in length, straddling the half way line. Unusually for a terrace it has windshields to either side, although it does have some supporting pillars. It has the team dug outs located in front of it, where as normally you would expect them to be located in front of the Main Stand. To one side towards the Marsh Lane End is a small temporary covered all seated stand. The Marsh Lane End itself is dominated by the club house and Club offices which sits directly behind. Although its green colour may have been intended to help it blend in with the environment, it seems to me to do quite the contrary. It does though feature the entrance gates to the Club's former nostalgic White House ground. There is a flat standing area for spectators in front of it. At the other end is a small covered terrace, that runs for around half the length of the pitch and is situated directly behind the goal. Again there are a number of supporting pillars running across the front. The stadium is completed by a set of four modern floodlight pylons.
There is a large club house inside the stadium. Otherwise there didn't seem to be any other pubs within the vicinity of the ground.
From the North:
Leave the M40 at Junction 9 and take the A34 towards Oxford. Follow the A34 for seven miles until you reach the A44/A40 turn off. Leave the A34 and at the roundabout take the ring road towards London (A40)/Oxford. At the next roundabout take the second exit continuing along the ring road, which is now the A40 in the direction of London. Proceed along the A40 for two miles and then and then leave and take the slip road signposted Marston and Hospital. Follow the slip road aroung and over the A40 and this brings you onto Marsh Lane. The entrance to the stadium is just down on the left.
From the South:
Leave the M40 at Junction 8 and take the A40 towards Oxford. Follow the A40 for seven miles and then leave and take the slip road signposted Marston and Hospital. At the top of the slip raod turn left towards City Centre and Marston. You are now on Marsh Lane, the entrance to the stadium is just down on the left.
There is a fair sized car park at the ground which is free.
Oxford Railway Station is over three miles away from the stadium, so it is really too far to walk. So best to jump in a taxi up to the ground. Nigel Long adds; 'Alternatively, you can catch the number 14A bus (which is hourly, daytime only) direct from the station to the ground (Stop: Marston, adjacent Horseman Close). Alternatively, there is a more frequent bus service number 14 daytime and evening services from the station or the city centre to Cherwell Drive, which is a 10 minute walk from the ground. (Stop: Marston, adjacent Ewin Close). See the Stagecoach website for timetable information. You can also buy a 'PlusBus' ticket which allows an adult unlimited bus travel in Oxford for one day. This costs £4 per adult or £2 per child.
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Visit the the trainline website to see how much you can normally save.
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Members of the Armed Forces: Free*
Under 16's: Free (proof of age may be required)
* On production of valid ID
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Oxford City Stadium (Marsh Lane)
Oxford City vs Weston-Super-Mare
National Conference League South
Myles Munsey (Ground hopper)
Reasons for visit:
What do you do when you are at a loose end on a Bank holiday Saturday? Go to football of course. But there were other reasons for my visit. The weather was set fair and a visit to a nearby club that has been on my ‘to do’ list for quite some time appealed. Besides Oxford is pretty close and I could get back to my evening dinner appointment in good time.
This was a new venue but not a new club as I have seen Oxford City play at the Whitehouse Ground way back in 1970 (!) in the F.A.Cup against Bournemouth.
I also saw City the following season at United’s Manor Ground in a cup replay against Alvechurch – a tie that went to six (yes six!) games – a record. In the modern era of ‘instant’ results such things are uminamaginaeable nowadays.
Since gaining promotion to level 6 of the pyramid they have been performing pretty well of late so I wanted to see how they would get on.
It’s easy enough getting to Oxford by train, but the ground is a fair slog from the station. I say slog but actually I found a very pleasant walking route from central Oxford which I’m happy to replicate below.
From the Tourist Information Centre in Broad Street turn left into Parks Road then right into South Parks Road. At the point at which the road bends right, you will find a nicely rolled gravel path that leads down through the University Parks and across the river Cherwell. Follow the path all the way along as it turns left and right (passing over two cattle grids – mind the cow) until it comes out in Croft Road in New Marston. Head straight down Croft Road until it meets South Marston Road. Turn left and carry on to the roundabout. Turn left again and at the next roundabout turn right into Marsh Lane. The ground is 10 minutes further along on your right.
The ground is another one in a residential area or at least on the edge of one. Being a modern stadium it is functional but spacious. The ground is bordered on two sides by trees and on the other two by sports pitches and is overlooked by the large hospitals in nearby Headington. The trees not only give welcome greenery but also do a fine job of drowning out the constant drone of traffic from the adjacent M40.
The staff were welcoming and friendly.
Before the game:
I got to the ground at 13.45 so with plenty of time on my hands I engaged in pleasant conversation with the club officials reminiscing about OCFC’s long and interesting history and a discussion on the absurdity of scheduling games on the same Saturday as United are at home at the Kassam Stadium. They are apparently planning to have a 3G pitch in place for next season owing to several postponements of late. Well I suppose it’s called Marsh Lane for a reason!
The long walk on a warm afternoon left me thirsty so coffee was obtained from the catering hut. A selection of prices:
Sausage roll £1.50
Bacon roll £2.20
Beef burger £2.20
Bacon burger £3
Tea, coffee, soup £1.20
Chocolate bar, crisps £0.70
Entry at £12 gives you free and easy access to all parts of the ground. I sat in the front row of the stand to avoid these annoying pillars and had a great view. I actually sat next to the club’s retired medical official who explained that with a large element of Spanish players in the side it was a little like watching Barcelona.
View of the Main Stand overlooked by the Hospitals in Headington
Before the game got underway, a minute’s silence for the victims of the Shoreham air disaster was properly observed.
Not quite like watching Barcelona, but Oxford City do play a nice passing game that is attractive to watch. At times this was a little over-elaborate and lacked a cutting edge. Despite leaving it very late to turn the screw, the home side gained a comfortable win with goals by Bubb (26), Santiago (87) and Coulson (90). Weston I’m afraid barely created a worthwhile chance.
I walked directly back to the station in warm sunshine keeping to the main road back into Carfax via Magdalen Bridge. This took exactly one hour.
A thoroughly enjoyable day out and the exercise did me good. One disappointment though. The attendance. A mere 202.