After a very promising pre-season, the Blues were raring to kick off their Midlands 1A league campaign, and looking forward to seeing the benefits of all the hard work that had been put in. Within just minutes of kick-off however, Oxford found themselves 1-0 down, after a defensive error released Derby’s winger, who drove to the byline and pulled the ball back for their striker to coolly finish. The Blues did respond however, dragging themselves back into the game with a perfectly executed training ground set-piece leaving centre-back Ben Briggs to head home from six yards.

As the second half wore on, the Blues began to increasingly impose themselves on the game, giving Derby’s defenders and midfielders less time on the ball, and forcing turnovers in play. It was during this dominant spell however, that the Blues conceded their second, after another defensive mix-up allowed their striker a free run at goal. Despite a number of chances towards the close of the game, the final whistle blew and the 2-1 defeat confirmed.

Captain Leo Ackerman told Cherwell: “Their second goal came at a terrible time. We had responded to Mickey in the dressing room at half-time and got on top of the game but for a defensive mix-up to gift them a goal.

“From there, we struggled to find the quality that would have hauled us back into the game, but for two chances at the end from successive set-pieces.

“Derby deserved those three points, but everyone in our squad is hurting and they are all desperate to get back to training on Friday.

“We play Cambridge away next week, and there couldn’t be a better place to put this right.”