Oxford Past meetings: 2001/02 season
By Jon Palmer
Updated Wednesday, 16th February 2005
The Robins clashed with Oxford in the old Division Three back in Cheltenham's memorable 2001/02 campaign, which saw them promoted to the old Division Two via the play-offs.Relegated Oxford initially struggled in the basement division, but Cheltenham were given a taste of what the U's were capable when the sides met at the Kassam Stadium in November.
Cheltenham travelled down the A40 full of confidence after a fine 4-1 home win over Macclesfield Town, while Oxford had been beaten 3-0 by Leyton Orient the previous week and were struggling in 18th position in the table.
New boss Ian Atkins was in charge of Oxford for the first time and his new troops upset the form-guide and ran out 3-0 winners with goals from Paul Moody, Jamie Brooks and Paul Powell.
Cheltenham were without influential midfielder Mark Yates, who was serving a suspension, and the void that the former Birmingham star left was clear for all to see. Yates played in each of Cheltenham's other 45 league fixtures and was pivotal in the engine room to the Robins' promotion success.
The corresponding fixture at Whaddon Road was one of the most crucial matches of Cheltenham's ultimately successful campaign.
Cheltenham had just been beaten 2-1 at Field Mill against rivals for automatic promotion, Mansfield Town. A huge crowd of 7,013 gathered for the visit of Oxford and witnessed the promotion pendulum swing back in Cheltenham's favour.
John Finnigan, signed the previous month as a replacement for the injured Lee Howells, was proving to be a revelation in the centre of midfield alongside skipper Yates. The former Lincoln captain hit his second goal in Cheltenham colours after 16 minutes.
Mike Duff added a second on the stroke of half-time to seal a vital win which meant that a promotion berth was in Cheltenham's hands. A draw at Carlisle and a defeat at Champions Plymouth Argyle in Cheltenham's two remaining league matches, consigned Steve Cotterill's men to the play-offs and we all remember what happened at the Millennium Stadium.
Previous meeting: (2-0, Whaddon Road, 13/04/02)
Cheltenham: Book, Howarth, Victory, Duff, Brough, Yates, Finnigan, Williams (Griffin), Milton, Naylor (Tyson), Grayson.
Oxford: Woodman, Waterman (Guyett), Ricketts, Crosby, Bound, Morley, Savage, Tait (Hackett), Scott, Brooks, Powell (Moody).
Prior to the two teams' meetings in the Football League, Oxford and Cheltenham met in the Southern League up until 1962.