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National League | Gameweek 41
Mar 23, 2024 at 3pm UK
Mill Farm Stadium

2 - 1
Oxford City

Westley (60'), Haughton (79')
Mitchell (62')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Parker (15')
Fleet (16'), Coyle (38'), Roberts (44'), Birtwistle (71'), Birtwistle (71'), Ashby (85')

Preview: Fylde vs. Oxford City - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Fylde vs. Oxford City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's National League clash between Fylde and Oxford City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Looking to move themselves clear of trouble at the foot of the fifth-tier standings, Fylde will pit their wits against bottom side Oxford City at Mill Farm Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the National League.

The Coasters suffered a narrow defeat at home to Wealdstone during their most-recent fixture, whilst the Hoops' winless run continued with a loss against Halifax Town.

Match preview

Following back-to-back victories at the beginning of March over Maidenhead United and York City, Fylde's form has taken a nosedive in the last three games, with Saturday's hosts collecting just one point from a trio of matches against Chesterfield, Kidderminster Harriers and Wealdstone.

The Coasters perhaps came closest to achieving a roaring success in the contest against the Stones after Nick Haughton equalised for Fylde in the second period, but a 64th-minute strike from Wealdstone's Manny Duku was enough to secure maximum points for the visitors at Mill Farm Stadium.

After cantering to the National League North title in the 2022-23 campaign, Chris Beech's side are now embroiled in a battle to preserve their fifth-tier status for another season, with Fylde currently occupying 17th in the National League standings, just three points ahead of 21st-placed York.

Netting 26 goals in the sixth tier of English football last term, 29-year-old Haughton has stepped up to National League level this time around with 16 strikes in 39 appearances, but the Englishman is being supported by the likes of 11-goal winger Jonathan Ustabasi.

Fylde have only tasted victory in one of their last four National League encounters at Mill Farm Stadium dating back to January 27, when a solitary strike from Danny Ormerod sealed a standout win over League Two-chasing Bromley.

Unlike their city rivals Oxford United - who are fighting for a spot in the Championship next season - Oxford City are in serious and immediate danger of being relegated from the National League, with the fifth-tier newcomers in the midst of a 10-game unbeaten run which stretches back to late January.

The spell without victory extended to double figures following a limp showing at the RAW Charging Stadium against top-seven hopefuls Halifax Town on Sunday, when first-half goals from Robert Harker and Andrew Oluwabori wrapped up the points for Chris Millington's side with little effort.

Having earned a place at this level via the National League South playoffs last year, it was always going to be an uphill task for Ross Jenkins to keep his side at the top level of non-league football, with the Hoops sitting bottom of the league standings, 15 points behind Boreham Wood in 20th.

Oxford City have remarkably netted more goals than any of the sides in the current bottom six of the division, but it is the Hoops' woeful defensive record that has hindered their survival chances massively, with Saturday's visitors conceding an eye-watering 85 goals in 40 league matches so far.

Making a claim to remain at this level past the conclusion of the 2023-24 campaign, former Charlton Athletic man Josh Parker has made the net ripple on 12 occasions in 37 league appearances for the Hoops to date, meaning that the 33-year-old needs just six more goals to match his tally from the sixth tier last season.

Fylde National League form:

Oxford City National League form:

Team News

Despite failing to keep a clean sheet in the past eight matches, Fylde are expected to continue with Theo Richardson as their first choice in between the sticks.

Harry Davis and Tom Walker will continue in the Coasters' backline, with the likes of Joe Rowley and Luke Conlan also fighting for starting berths.

Netting three times as many goals as his teammates, 12-goal striker Parker is a certain starter on the weekend, although Zac McEachran is currently sidelined due to injury.

Lewis Coyle is the Hoops' hard-hitting defender this season, scoring two goals and earning a worrying 12 yellow cards in just 35 league appearances.

Fylde possible starting lineup:
Richardson; Barrett, Davis, Graham, Walker; Adshead, Whitehead, Kay, Ustabasi; Haughton, Ormerod

Oxford City possible starting lineup:
Brzozowski; Burley, Phillips, Ashey, Kirby; Coyle, Greenslade, Parker, Humphrey-Ewer; Moore, O'Connell

We say: Fylde 2-0 Oxford City

Following a run of seven away matches in 10 recently, Fylde are enjoying back-to-back fixtures at Mill Farm Stadium and should be very confident of earning a win on Saturday.

Oxford City's fate is becoming clearer and clearer as the days go by, and we feel that the Hoops will extend their winless run to 11 games on the weekend.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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