Ap­ple­ton not happy after Boro get clever

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Wright

DE­SPITE dom­i­nat­ing the game, Ox­ford United were un­able to break down a stub­born Steve­nage and their man­ager Michael Ap­ple­ton felt they tried to be too clever at times.

The U’s passed up sev­eral chances to win the match and back up their first vic­tory of the sea­son against Ac­cring­ton on Tues­day with their top scorer Danny Hyl­ton un­usu­ally pro­lific.

They were the only side who re­ally looked com­mit­ted to win­ning the match with Steve­nage ap­pear­ing happy to come away with a point and in that sense it was mis­sion ac­com­plished.

Ap­ple­ton said:“It was a game we ab­so­lutely dom­i­nated be­tween two teams of con­trast­ing styles – I know which one I’d want to watch most weeks.

“We moved the ball re­ally well. If you’re get­ting play­ers into the box and noth­ing’s hap­pen­ing that’s one thing but we ac­tu­ally cre­ated nu­mer­ous chances.

“We needed to be a lit­tle more clin­i­cal in our fin­ish­ing and we would have come away with three points.

“There’s a bit of belief in the team at the minute although at times I thought we tried to be a bit too clever and passed the ball when we could have put our foot through it.”

Steve­nage goal­keeper Chris Day was called into ac­tion after six min­utes when he kept out a shot across goal by Hyl­ton.

The hosts were dom­i­nat­ing the play and came close again when Tom Newey’s ex­cel­lent cross from the left was headed just wide by the soar­ing Hyl­ton.

Hyl­ton threat­ened once more just be­fore half-time when he volleyed into the side net­ting fol­low­ing a fine run and chip to the back post by the lively Callum O’Dowda.

Ox­ford con­tin­ued to knock on the door in the sec­ond half as Joe Ri­ley’s cor­ner found the head of Newey, who sent his ef­fort over.

It took Steve­nage 77 min­utes to threaten when sub­sti­tute Dean Par­rett, on his re­turn from six months out with a cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment in­jury, forced George Long into an awk­ward­look­ing save.

Hyl­ton had another chance to win it with six min­utes left but snatched wide.

Steve­nage man­ager Gra­ham West­ley feels his team are im­prov­ing.

He said: “I watched a lot of very young and in­ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers grow up an enor­mous amount. When you look at the likes of the Adam Mar­riotts, the Tom Petts, the Cameron Lan­cast­ers there’s a lot of young lads there with no league ex­pe­ri­ence what­so­ever.

“That was a pretty solid and pretty strong and dis­ci­plined per­for­mance in the sec­ond half and Dean Par­rett had a good chance that could eas­ily have won it.”

STAR MAN CALLUM O’DOW

DA Ox­ford

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