We Romain'd in it to the end
Did I actually predict the result in my preview as I was looking at United's recent form? Maybe I feared the tie more than thinking logically and going with the pattern that was all too evident. You could even liken Oxford's results to binary with the number of wins followed by a draw. So on a night where 10 goals were scored in Oxford at 2 different grounds with both home teams winning in the 2nd half, but unlike Oxford City conceding at home to Weston Super Mare with nearly quarter of an hour to go, Oxford United looked set to get the 3 points after clawing back a first half deficit in the last 20 minutes going deep into injury time with the full time whistle to be blown at any second.
Same old, same old
Again, it's the 2nd half we are struggling in most games this season, if the first half was a warm up and everything depended on the 2nd half, we would only have 2 wins on the board from 9 games, we would also have still been kicked out of the League cup and just scraped a 1-2 victory over Chesterfield in the Lower Division Trophy. If I am way off the mark, let's take a look if the result was just based on the first 45 minutes, in 9 games we would have won 5 with 4 draws and that means we have not gone in at half time with a losing score line. Is it fitness, desire, half time team talk, tactics or concentration. There is clearly something that is damaging our hopes on the final straight.
Don't get me wrong, I saw Oxford United as probably our toughest test to date this season and before kick off I would have been delighted with a draw, especially when you consider we have taken 4 points off teams that were top and 6th in the table at the time of kick off, and not only that, those 4 points were on the road, but after winning the first half 0-1 we almost went away empty handed but for a very very late Romain Vincelot header in the 94th minute thanks to a Nicky Law assist to equalize matters, but still made it a 2-1 deficit in the last 20 minutes of the game. I really hope someone who is in contact with Stuart McCall can get this message passed onto him as this has to be one of our biggest Achilles heels, that and the inability to come away with a clean sheet, now managing that feat just the once in 9 games.
That is what I sighed when the final whistle blew, on it's own merit, this is a great result for McCall and the team and is one of the main fixtures I'm glad we've now gotten out of the way. There is no doubt, Oxford United WILL take points from the top teams this season, just like last, and believe it or not, The U's are the only team not to lose to top of the table Shrewsbury, claiming an away draw.
So as a sole match, this has to be one of our biggest results so far this season, but if you look at all of our matches, the pattern I've picked up on a few games back is still prevalent.
You know what?
What matters is, McCall is doing a cracking job at the moment on the whole, we are 4th in the table after 6 league games 3 points off top. Last season only 4 of those many draws cost us automatic promotion, I just hope it isn't a few too many 2nd half performances that are our downfall this season.
At least that run of away games is out of the way and McCall is keeping us in it and you have to say he seems to be doing a remarkable job. Well done lads.