Monday 9th April 2012 ko 3.00pm
OXFORD UNITED 2 (Chapman 59 Montano 68)
TORQUAY UNITED 2 (Howe 17 Atieno 90) Morris sent off 77 (2nd booking)
Att 7,867 (746 away)
Programme £3 (inc Oxford Mail)
A few days on I’m still not sure what to make of this one. A draw against a side probably destined to gain promotion as runners-up is not to be sniffed at, and one I’d have settled for before the game. We did, after all managed to lose to struggling Northampton!
The first half performance by Oxford was sufficiently bad for me to have again, settled for a point. After a bright start, Harry Worley’s weak backpass that Rene Howe took full advantage of, to open the scoring signalled a listless performance neatly summed up by Oxford’s talisman James Constable. As hard working as ever, but utterly lacking in inspiration he was replaced at half time by Scott Rendell.
That changed the performance completely, although it was a fluke that got Oxford on level terms, Adam Chapman scoring direct from a corner! Has a player missing for a year due to a prison sentence ever been so popular? His return has felt like a bargain free transfer since the swindon game. Many failed to notice that it was his erudite pass that found Damian Batt on the right. His wonderful cross was powerfully met by Montano who headed home. The negotiations with West Ham for his continued services will be more keen as a result.
Which leaves us the other loanee forward, Dean Morgan. Egomaniac or integral? Chris Wilder seems to think the latter, but there seems to be little evidence that he can produce the goals, that are missing through Tom Craddock’s injuries. On the present showing I’d be amazed if better alternatives aren’t available on the free transfer market.
For all of that OUFC went into injury time 2-1 up, was and were playing 10 men. Morris’ dismssal was an easy decision for the referee, but would he have still seen red, if he hadn’t already been booked? Did the referee take the easy option and save him a further 2 game ban? My feeling is that’s exactly what happened.
Would Torquay’s equaliser had gone in if Ryan Clarke hadn’t injured his side a few minutes earlier? It looked like an uncharacteristically poor piece of goalkeeping from Clarke, but is Wilder inclined to throw in Wayne Brown who’s sole appearance this season resulted in a red card in a Football League Trophy game.
So many questions, and at one point I looked behind me and saw 5 potential first teamers in Darrell’s PA box, so many players but so few it seems capable of getting Oxford United into League 1. Who’d be a manager!