(Above: a crowd of 1990 watched the Rushden/Oxford clash earlier in the season)
In what has taken on something of a derby atmosphere in recent years, Rushden take on Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday. Thanks largely to the presense of controvertial ex-Diamonds at the club in recent seasons (namely Billy Turley, and Brian Talbot) RDFC/OUFC games have had extra buzz about them of late. Tuesday’s clash will be the 13th meeting between the sides; will it be a lucky day for the whites?– Rushden have enjoyed their meetings with United of late, winning the last four, and having not lost since 2003, 8 games ago. The last tie between the two sides famously ended in a 5-0 Rushden win at Nene Park; two seasons prior, Rushden won the same fixture by three goals. – The games have generally been high-scoring affairs, with 34 goals being scored in 12 games. – – (Above: Turley, and the Oxford fans, did not enjoy their visit to NP in November) – Like Rushden, Oxford have underachieved this term. Despite being tipped to be challenging for the title, United currently sit in 10th place, 14 places off of the play-offs. Much like the Diamonds form of late, Oxford have enjoyed a mini-revival, winning three on the bounce. They did, however, lose to Northwich at the Kassam in mid-March, and just beat Stafford soon before. – – Oxford currently boast the highest average attendance in the league: 4733; a stat higher than some League One sides, and not far off Championship side Colchester. – Despite this, Kassam does not seem to be the fortress that it could be; Oxford have won just 9 games at home all season (from a possible 22).