Tuesday 22nd October 2013 ko 19.45
OXFORD UNITED 0 Kitson sent off 90 (2nd Booking)
EXETER CITY 0
Att 5,083 (362 away)
Programme (including Oxford Mail) £3
It is a footballing maxim that when a game matters, it normally ends up being a draw. Although this goal-less draw wasn’t the stereotypical bore draw, in fact in was a fine spectacle, it was just as frustrating as one.
With City 3rd and United 4th the game was set-up beautifully, and despite a spectacular thunderstorm throughout the first half the pitch held up perfectly. Thankfully the itinerant Welsh rugby enthusiasts haven’t managed to chew up the pitch as yet this season. A good job too as both sides played good passing football, just without any tangible end product.
The major talking point will inevitably be the dismissal of Dave Kitson. Whilst its clear he’s picking up far too many yellow cards, 7 in 11 games is the most in the Football League, he is at times as much sinned against as sinner. Take his first booking for example, referee Keith Stroud clearly signalled it was for his 5th foul (persistent infringement) but the Oxford Mail report that the match stats indicate it was in fact his first foul…..
Kitson committed a further foul early on an Stroud made it crystal clear that any further infringement would lead to his dismissal. It gave OUFC manager Chris Wilder a dilemma, replace Kitson to save a red card, or trust a senior professional, and replace a tiring James Constable. He opted to replace Constable, and Kitson collected his second yellow for a pointless trip in stoppage time.
Wilder had more decisions to make than just on Kitson. The principle outlet was winger Ryan Williams, but he was making too many poor decisions and running down blind alleys. You have the young but raw Callum O’Dowda on the bench, a ready -made replacement, or do you plump for the more senior Scott Davies, better suited though to centre midfield. Davies got the nod with 22 minutes left, and the lack of a goal speaks volumes.
But let’s not get too disheartened here, OUFC are still fourth and be honest if you’d have been offered that in pre-season you’d have taken it wouldn’t you?