Oxford (A) LFL Blog

I've never been to Oxford's ground so today I'll be adding it to the list of new grounds I've visited this season. Grigg is in the squad apparently and it'd be great to see him on the pitch at some point. Gooch should be back again after the birth of his son while Honeyman returned last week so all of this has been getting me into an optimistic mood. Despite the largely lacklustre display against the Wombles, we still got the win and that's all we have to do for now. Oxford are in the bottom four and have conceded twice as many goals as us so I'm very confident that we'll keep up our scoring record. They've just signed Jerome Sinclair on loan so I suppose it's a safe bet that he'll get a goal. We'll have another good turnout today and I prefer these smaller grounds half full of our fans to the Stadium of Light as the away atmosphere in my experience this season has been better. Match prediction 3-1 to us.

I met an old schoolmate at the station in Oxford and after a couple of refreshing Guinnesses in a posh bar in the centre we took a minicab to the Kassam Stadium and I was in my seat in the North Stand just so we kicked off. I was pleased to see five fans standing on tree-stumps overlooking the non-existent east side of the stadium. It was good to see that the spirit of Oor Wullie lives on. I was even more pleased to see Will Grigg was starting, in the number 22 shirt.

We had the better of the first-half winning five corners to their two but we still weren't playing too well, relying on 'hit and hope' tactics too much for my liking. We had to thank McLaughlin for two great saves to prevent a couple of Oxford headers going in while we hadn't really had a shot of note on target in the first half-hour. Then we finally managed to make a corner count and it was new boy Jimmy Dunne who nodded one in in the thirty-second minute to put us in the lead. There was an immediate chant of “Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na! Jimmy Dunne! Jimmy, Jimmy Dunne!” to the tune of K C and The Sunshine Band's Seventies classic 'Gotta Give It Up', which brought back memories of my days in the Vestry. Anyway, we saw out the rest of the half comfortably enough and at the break things were looking okay with us in the lead and Oxford ahead 2-0 on yellow cards. Grigg hadn't had a chance to shine, playing alone upfront and being well marshalled by burly defenders.

As the second-half got underway I noticed that the stump-dwellers to my right had decreased in number. I can't imagine that they could've seen much of the game. Oxford had much the better of the opening fifteen minutes of the second period with McLaughlin again keeping them out with a great save with his foot just before the hour. We brought on Wyke for McGeady, switching to 4-4-2, and for a while the latter did well, holding the ball up effectively and battling like hell especially on one run down the right when he was fouled and we won a free-kick in a good position. It was a good job that Oxford's finishing was usually lousy as they were certainly creating chances with Graham looking very tricky down the left wing. Sinclair came on as sub for Mackie midway through and I was surprised at how much applause he received from our fans. We took off Grigg with twelve minutes left and he was well applauded too. O'Nien was the man who came on and he took to the game with his usual gusto. As the clock ticked away we looked no nearer to getting another goal though Oxford weren't putting us under too much pressure either but with three minutes to go they equalized when they broke down the right and when the ball was crossed into the box Browne tucked it away to put them level. It looked very much like Dunne had been fouled in the build up but ref Scott Oldham wasn't having it despite much protest from our players. He hadn't given us much at all and Oxford's back four had been dishing it out plenty. Anyway, despite five minutes of stoppage-time we never really looked like getting another and it ended 1-1.

Yet again, we've let a lead go and this feels like two points dropped. In the next week we have the opportunity to make up the gap on Luton and Barnsley and we need two wins, nothing less.