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Oxford United 0-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Tuesday, 1st Dec 2020 21:07

Town and Oxford played out a dull 0-0 at the Kassam Stadium with the home side coming closest to breaking the deadlock. Blues keeper David Cornell pushed a James Henry cross on to the post in the first half, while Town, who hit their first effort on target in the 90th minute, went nearest to scoring when Jon Nolan shot over on 75.

Armando Dobra was handed his full league debut and Nolan, Aaron Drinan, Jack Lankester and Mark McGuinness returned to the line-up as Blues boss Paul Lambert made five changes from the team which lost 2-0 at home to Charlton on Saturday.

McGuinness joined Luke Woolfenden at the heart of the defence with skipper Luke Chambers at right-back and Stephen Ward on the left. Cornell continued in goal.

In midfield, Andre Dozzell took up his usual deeper role with Lankester and Nolan, back after a groin problem, ahead of him.

Drinan, making his first start since the opening day of the league season, was the central striker with Dobra, who had previously made four league appearances as a sub, on the right and Bennetts on the left.

James Norwood and Toto Nsiala both suffered injuries on Saturday, joining an already lengthy injury list, while Alan Judge and Liam Gibbs dropped to the bench and Brett McGavin was missing from the 18.

Oxford made two changes from the team which lost 2-1 to Swindon at the weekend with Jack Stevens in goal for Simon Eastwood, who was on the bench, while Olamide Shodipo replaced Jordan Obita, who was also among the subs.

After both teams took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter, the game got under way with the Blues wearing their white and light blue away kit for the first time in a competitive fixture and crowd noise broadcast from the PA.

Neither side was able to create an opening in the early stages, but on 14 the Blues worked the ball out of a tight area on the right to Bennetts on the left and the on-loan Borussia Mönchengladbach man struck a speculative shot deep into the stand from distance when he should have played it to Ward overlapping.

In the 18th minute Josh Ruffels hit the home side’s first effort of the evening but straight at Cornell who claimed comfortably.

Three minutes later, the Blues made heavy weather of clearing a Liam Kelly free-kick from not far outside the area, the ball eventually bouncing past the post off a Town player.

From the resultant corner, Elliott Moore reached Kelly’s ball in from the left at the far post but directed his header wide when he looked certain to score.

Unusually for Town, the opposition were having most of the ball with the Blues not being allowed to keep the ball at the back as has become familiar this season.

On 29 home keeper Stevens came out of his box to clear ahead of Drinan, then at the other end Marcus McGuane hit a shot across the face of goal and out for a throw.

Two minutes later, Cornell was forced into his first save of the evening from the same player, the Blues keeper palming an effort from the edge of the area out of play off the retreating Bennetts.

Oxford were beginning to look more and more threatening and in the 38th minute hit the post.

Bennetts initially did well to get in front of his man as a Matty Taylor cross came over from the left but the ball was sent back in from the right by Kelly and home skipper Henry, a Town target during Paul Jewell’s time as boss, headed goalwards with Cornell just getting across to paw it on to the post and it was scrambled away.

Town enjoyed a spell of possession around the home side’s box as half-time approached but Bennetts hit the first defender with his cross.

That was the last action of a half which won’t linger long in the memory. The U’s had the better of it and all of the few chances with Elliott’s header and Henry’s effort not long before half-time the closest to a goal.

Town had been unable hit a shot on target with Stevens in the Oxford goal having shown one or two signs of shakiness when dealing with crosses early in the half.

The second half got under way in the scruffy manner of most of the first with no penalty area action at either end in the opening 10 minutes.

On 56 Henry sent a ball into the area from the right which Woolfenden diverted over. In the aftermath of the corner, Rob Atkinson blasted a shot straight at the Town centre-half, who needed treatment before carrying on.

Town had shown little since the break and it was little surprise when manager Lambert made two changes as the game hit the hour mark, Drinan and Lankester making way for Oli Hawkins and Kayden Jackson as the Blues moved to 4-4-1-1 with the latter playing behind the former.

On 63 a ball from the right reached Shodipo on the left of the box from where he hit a shot which looked goal-bound until Nolan got in the way and deflected it behind.

Following the corner, Henry forced Cornell to palm the ball behind for another flag-kick.

Oxford were continuing to control the game and see most of the ball with Town showing more potential up front following the introduction of Hawkins’s height without actually creating an opportunity. On 72 Obita replaced Shodipo.

Three minutes later, Cornell came off his line quickly to block from Taylor just outside his area, before the Blues broke and created their first serious opening of the match.

Nolan was played into space on the right of the box and hit a shot which flew just over the bar.

In the 79th minute Stevens just about kept the ball out of his net from a Dozzell corner which looped under the bar before eventually being forced away from goal.

Moments later Dobra was swapped for Judge. The Albanian U21 international had had one or two good moments during the game and won a number of free-kicks in dangerous areas. Oxford switched Henry for Sean Clare.

As the game opened up in the closing stages the Blues were looking a little more threatening but still without managing a shot on target.

On 85 Dozzell was shown the game’s first yellow card and his fifth in the league this season for a late tackle on Clare. The midfielder will now miss Saturday’s trip to Plymouth as he serves a one-match ban.

Oxford made a double change as the game moved into its final three minutes with Kelly and Taylor making way for Dan Agyei and John Mousinho.

Woolfenden blocked an Obita shot at one end, then in the final scheduled minute Hawkins headed Town’s first effort on goal into Stevens’s arms.

Soon after, referee Bobby Madley’s whistle confirmed the stalemate with the game having deserved little more.

Oxford always looked the more likelier scorers, although not too much likelier, with the best chances the two headers in the first half.

The U’s always looked in control of the game if not having the capability and confidence to turn that superiority into a victory.

Town’s only decent opportunity was Nolan’s shot over and they have now gone three games without scoring and have netted more than once in their last nine. They are also the first side not to score against Oxford since February 19 league and play-off games ago.

While the continuing lack of penetration is an increasing concern, Cornell can be pleased with his first league clean sheet in a Town shirt.

The draw, both sides’ second of the season in the league, moves the Blues up a place to fifth due to Portsmouth’s 1-0 loss at Blackpool ahead of Saturday’s long trip to Plymouth, who lot 4-0 at home to Rochdale this evening.

Oxford: Stevens, Ruffels, Moore, Gorrin, Taylor (Mousinho 87), Long, Henry (c) (Clare 80), McGuane, Atkinson, Shodipo (Obita 72), Kelly (Agyei 87). Unused: Eastwood, Hall, Forde.

Town: Cornell, Chambers (c), Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward, Dozzell, Nolan, Lankester (Jackson 60), Bennetts, Drinan (Hawkins 60), Dobra (Judge 79). Unused: Holy, Donacien, Kenlock, Gibbs. Referee: Bobby Madley (West Yorkshire).

Photo: Pagepix

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BromleyBloo added 21:08 - Dec 1
Well we didn’t get beat - did they drag us down to their level or did we drag them down to ours??? Two teams clearly lacking any confidence or self belief, hoping that something will just fall for them. Having said that we worked hard and Ports, Fleetwood and Plym did all lose, while Black Cats drew at home to Burton - we are not alone!!!

However, while we pressed a bit in the last 10 mins, their keeper didn’t have to make a save prior to that - so we battled hard, but created very little. Where will a goal come from???

McG and Woolfy solid and Cornell had a good game, but the rest worked hard, but produced little, apart from Nolan who was awful.

If we win Sat away at Ply May be we can build from that.....................?!?

VanDusen added 21:10 - Dec 1
I'm surprised we didn't try Donacien up front just to try and change things. Still away point and Cornell looked a lot better than Saturday...

Blue_Meanie added 21:10 - Dec 1
I think first shot in the 90th minute tells us all we need to know.

We’re just not very good.

TimmyH added 21:10 - Dec 1
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...all the quality of a Lidl porkpie, 2 poor sides lacking in confidence and showing it, would have created more chances by booting a 'Hail Mary' into Oxford's box and hoping something will fall our way. Poor!

dirtydingusmagee added 21:12 - Dec 1

Blue_Meanie added 21:12 - Dec 1
* on target ☹️☹️

cat added 21:13 - Dec 1
A Point away is better than a kick in the NADS, even against a lowly Oxford, but a sad reality of where we currently are. We might be riddled with injuries but that’s no excuse for a simply awful managerial win percentage over 3 bit part seasons. Get rid now before the season passes us by.

chepstowblue added 21:14 - Dec 1
Frankly I will be appalled if the Oxford keeper isn't awarded man of the match!! I'm actually quite happy with the point though, as I expected nothing tonight. It offers no hope of an immediate improvement but we're hanging on in there.

Buryblue78 added 21:14 - Dec 1
Well i had a colonoscopy yesterday and can safely say that watching my own tripe was better than watching town

Bluearmy_81 added 21:14 - Dec 1
Awful awful football, it makes me want to weep that we are this poor/bad. Fans should be apoplectic with fury. It's like some sort of nightmare... Ps yes we are 5th but Accrington have 4 games in hand on us and lots of others have at least one.

dirtydingusmagee added 21:15 - Dec 1
THATS A BIT HARSH TimmyH Lidl pork pies are ok ,

Phil1969 added 21:15 - Dec 1
Take a point we’re off the back of a poor run Oxford made the play offs not that long ago. We have a injury list as long as ones arm we can build from here. PS Plymouth score is half time.

timkatieadamitfc added 21:15 - Dec 1
On the basis of what I thought was a promising attacking line up to start I decided to part with another £10, Jesus I wished I hadn’t, we never looked like scoring in a month of Sunday’s.
Absolutely terrible game between two bang average teams to be brutally honest, 3 games without a goal now with zero penetration/threat is a real worry and hard to see where next win is coming from.

chopra777 added 21:16 - Dec 1
Confidence up. Small improvement. No goals conceded. Its a start. Good to see Pompey lose and Sunderland conceding points.

dirtydingusmagee added 21:17 - Dec 1
who remembers Lambert saying we should just go along and enjoy the football , ......kin priceless.

algarvefan added 21:18 - Dec 1
Not too many positives in that game for us to take away. Unless there are huge changes at the club, this season is over before it really started, dreadful, dire and boring.

DifferentGravy added 21:18 - Dec 1
4-5-1.............1 shot on target against fourth from bottom. Says it all.

Lambert out

DifferentGravy added 21:19 - Dec 1
Glad i didnt waste a tenner either

Lambert out

BeattiesBackPocket added 21:21 - Dec 1
4 points from 5 games is relegation form so now what!? For me the owner has seen over the decline but each manager gets the blame. Yes lamberts out of his depth but again we hire managers no one else really wants or gets a club job after leaving or sacked. We won’t attract the type of managers we’d all like as in Howe or Pearson any more unlike the past when Pearson has applied because we have no ambition and no one wants to take the job on with a decent cv. The supporters club call it stagnation and the guardian call it decline. It’s depressing to see this club where we are fast going 😔

Mariner1974 added 21:22 - Dec 1
Thought Oxford were actually trying to play better football than Charlton and Hull, but like us lacking the killer instinct at present. Cornell, Woolfie and McGuinness should all gain confidence from that clean sheet together, and will be shame that Dozzell misses Plymouth, as again our best passer. Need some serious training this week to teach Bennetts how to cross and the rest of the gang. Hope Dobra gets another run out against Plymouth on the weekend, and Dodge stays where he belongs...nowhere near the team

unknown100 added 21:23 - Dec 1
That’s a team that doesn’t want to play for the manager

How many players must be ticked off, Hawkins, holy, Jackson, woolfenden, sears, mcgavin, Norwood, he’s either dropped them, over looked them or criticised them and they are the ones we’ve seen

I get we’ve had injuries but rotation is ridiculous

blue86 added 21:23 - Dec 1
Watched on ifollow..... fairly painfull! Every stat we lost. Oxford had more possession, shots, passes, corners, tackles.... oh I think we had more offsides than them 😂 have to laugh or I would cry, we just dont create chances or threaten. Looked slightly better when Hawkins and jackson came on to make a front two, but not much better. We are so slow in our buildup play, nolan was fairly sloppy in possession at times, and bennetts has no end product. I honestly think time should be up now for lambert. Only plus is we are 5th, but not for long playing like this I'm afraid.

TimmyH added 21:23 - Dec 1
Hahaha! Cat describing a dull bore draw away to lowly Oxford as better than a 'kick in the nads'...can the bar be lowered anymore? :)

fifeblue added 21:24 - Dec 1
Does Hawkins know what offside means?

Why is this team incapable of scoring a goal?

itfchorry added 21:24 - Dec 1
Sadly - We have run out of wine in the Boardroom

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