Oxford vs Cheltenham: The Verdict

Was a draw a fair result or was our luck out to deserve the win? We are still 5 points off 3rd. The teams below us in the table  have games in hand … Will they win those games?

After seeing us lose to Burton on Saturday I made my way to the Kassam Stadium in a thoughtful mood. On one hand I was bemoaning the disgruntled fans that have given up hope on their beloved team, and on the other hand I was thinking a draw wouldn’t necessarily be a bad result as we tend to either lose or draw against Cheltenham.

A few seasons ago Jack Butland was the star of the show as he kept out James Constable three times. The result wasn’t good for Oxford as on that occasion we lost something like 3-0. Cheltenham were dominant and we just didn’t have enough in the tank to thwart their very good attacks. Let’s hope tonight wasn’t going to be as bad.


The Match Report

The team news was as expected but what was surprising was how the U’s lined up:

CLARKE

HUNT – WRIGHT – RAYNES – NEWEY

WILLIAMS – MULLINS – RUFFELS

CONNOLLY – SMALLEY – BEANO

There wasn’t very much quality in the final third in the first half. The U’s were trying to spray passes around to open up a stubborn Robins side who had drawn with Portsmouth at the weekend. The best move before the half time whistle came when James Constable got into the box and tried to lay the ball off to Connolly, whose shot just went wide of the right hand post.

Goalless at half time.

In the 2nd half James Constable went on a lung-bursting run when he rode three challenges to pass the ball to Deane Smalley but unfortunately his touch was too strong and Scott Brown saved comfortably.

Cue Mark Yates’s substitutions. If the sly fox put the evergreen Jamie Cureton on at any point in the second half all the U’s fans knew that he was going to score. He seems to have scored against us in every fixture that he has played against us.

He had a very good chance of putting the Robins on top but fortunately Clarkey managed to prevent it from going over the line.

Ryan Williams … what can I say about this guy except that we are very fortunate to have him on loan from Fulham? His shot managed to nestle in the back of the net off the left hand post via a wicked deflection. The players seemed to be buoyed by that 78th minute strike. Could we hold on?

A wicked deflection off Zack Kotwica’s shin pad fell into the path of Cureton, who managed to drill it into the goal. A cruel equaliser.

How did we not hold out to clinch three very important points? Was Lady Luck ignoring us in favour of Mark Yates’s Robins side who, in my opinion, were very lucky to grab anything from a very impressive Oxford side? There are a lot of ‘What if’s’ in my mind right now.

I still believe that in ten games everything can change – from who’s leading the promotion race to the make-up of the many teams that are below the top 7. I expect there are going to be a lot of twists and turns left before the end of the season.

Next up for the yellow boys is a daunting trip to Chesterfield who are leading the pack by a point from Scunthorpe. Can we stop the rot and clinch three vital points?

UNITED WE STAND! COME ON YOU MIGHTY YELLOWS.

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