Appleton not happy after Boro get clever
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