GARY’S REIGN IS ON THE UP

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Steve Har­ris To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

OX­FORD United got their pro­mo­tion bid back on track with their first win un­der the reign of Gary Wad­dock and their new boss wants this per­for­mance to be the bench­mark for the sea­son run in.

Goals from Dave Kit­son and James Con­sta­ble – the U’s first un­der Wad­dock – were enough to se­cure a vic­tory over a Ply­mouth side that was re­duced to ten men fol­low­ing the sec­ond half dis­missal of Maxime Blan­chard, that takes Ox­ford back into the play­off spots.

“I am pleased with the per­for­mance and we backed it up with the re­sult; I am de­lighted with that and we got two very good goals,” said Wad­dock.

“We looked a threat go­ing for­ward, we got two goals and a clean sheet and the keeper has made two re­ally im­por­tant saves for us.

“Even when it was 11 vs 11, I still think we cre­ated a lot chances.

“We have had an hor­ren­dous run, some real poor re­sults and we dropped out of the play-offs last week

“but if we per­form like we did here we have given our­selves a chance; if we don’t we’ll drop out of it again.”

Ox­ford dom­i­nated the open­ing stages with the pick of their chances fall­ing to Nicky Wroe in the 26th minute when he had a shot from in­side the penalty area turned be­hind by Ar­gyle keeper Jake Cole.

Their per­sis­tence paid off on 33 min­utes when Kit­son volleyed home af­ter Ryan Wil­liams headed a Joshua Ruf­fels free-kick back across goal.

Ar­gyle’s best chance of the half came in the 44th minute when Nathan Thomas had a header tipped away by Ox­ford keeper Ryan Clarke be­fore Reuben Reid was de­nied from the re­bound by U’s de­fender Michael Raynes.

Early in the sec­ond half, the Pil­grims were re­duced to ten men when Blan­chard was dis­missed when he re­ceived a sec­ond yel­low card for a care­less chal­lenge on Kit­son on 49 min­utes.

Wroe nearly added a sec­ond for the vis­i­tors in the 53rd minute when he rat­tled the wood­work with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

The Pil­grims were de­nied an equaliser a minute later when Clarke pro­duced a stun­ning re­flex stop to deny Cur­tis Nel­son, af­ter the Ar­gyle de­fender rose high­est to con­nect with a cross from An­dres Gurrieri.

Ox­ford dou­bled their ad­van­tage on 63 min­utes when Con­sta­ble fired home a 20-yard screamer to seal the win and deal a blow to the Pil­grims’ Play-Off as­pi­ra­tions, much to the dis­ap­point­ment of boss John Sheridan.

“It was very poor, when you think it was a big game, and we were re­ally flat,” said Sheridan.

“I’ve got no qualms about the re­sult, they were bet­ter than us.We kept the same play­ers, but we didn’t keep the same per­form- ance; we are at home with the best pitch in the league and we can’t put two passes to­gether. We’ve done all right this sea­son, but just all right is no good to me.”

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

STAR MAN NICKY WROE Ox­ford OPENER: Ox­ford's Dave Kit­son cel­e­brates putting the vis­i­tors ahead. In­set: Kit­son scores

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