Oxford United and Swindon Town – The A420 Derby

Oxford United and Swindon Town share one of the fiercest derbies in English football. Over the years, the two sides have encountered numerous physical clashes, both on and off the pitch.

With the A420 derby taking place this weekend for the first time since 2017, we have taken a look back at the history of the rivalry, and some key results.

Oxford United v Swindon Town – A Fierce Rivalry

The Early Meetings

Headington United, as Oxford were formerly known until 1960, met with Swindon on several occasions. In 1951, the two sides met for the first time but the game ended goalless in front of 7,000 supporters at The Manor Ground.

The two sides played several friendly matches but there would be a wait until 1965 before Oxford United first met the Robins competitively. Over 20,000 saw out a goalless draw at the County Ground before the U’s lost their home game 3-0.

Four years later, Oxford knocked Swindon out of the League Cup. The Robins arrived at the Manor as the current holders following their 1969 cup win over Arsenal, but the U’s saw off the holders with a 1-0 victory.

The 1970s and 1980s Escalation

The 1970s was an era in which the rivalry began to grow, with both sides playing each other more regularly. Football during that time was blighted by the behaviour of supporters, and it was no different for these two clubs at the time.

Oxford lost heavily at the County Ground in 1971 and 1972 but recorded their first-ever away win against the Robins in 1973. A 3-1 win gave the U’s something to celebrate.

The 1980s arrived and tensions grew stronger. In 1982, supporters from Swindon threw a smoke bomb onto the pitch. At the time, the game was 2-2 but, amidst the confusion, Swindon scored a late winner. Chaos ensued and the referee, who opted not to stop the game, was hit with a coin thrown by the Oxford supporters.

But, with Oxford winning back to back promotions from Division 3 to Division 1 in the mid-80s and securing the Milk Cup in 1986, the two sides wouldn’t meet again for a few years.

Across the two decades, the sides met 24 times with 12 wins for Swindon, nine draws and just three wins for the U’s.

Back and Forth

The 1990s were a torrid time for both clubs. Both were up and down through the divisions but a similar outcome was always the case when they met. Swindon had the upper hand during the decade by winning nine, with five Oxford wins and three draws.

The final time the two sides met at the Manor, Oxford were reduced to nine men and the Robins ran out 2-0 winners.

18-Year Unbeaten Run for Oxford Against Swindon

The following season, Oxford would welcome Swindon to their new ground, the Kassam Stadium, in the second round of the FA Cup. Not only would the U’s win the game 1-0, but it would start an 18-year unbeaten run against their fierce rivals.

Although Oxford suffered relegation into non-league four years later, the two sides met again in League Two in 2011. James Constable scored twice as the U’s won their first game at the County Ground in 38 years. They then won the reverse fixture 2-0 as the U’s completed the double.

The following season, Oxford won 1-0 in the Johnstones Paint Trophy before winning 2-0 in the same competition in 2015.

The last meeting at the Kassam came in 2016 where Chris Maguire scored twice in another 2-0 win.

A goalless draw in the reformatted Football League Trophy followed before the U’s completed a league double over their rivals with a 2-1 win at the County Ground.

Ahead of this weekends match, Swindon are also yet to score at the Kassam Stadium. Oxford have scored eight goals from five games without reply.

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