U’S SEE­ING NO HOME COM­FORTS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Mike Sim­monds

OX­FORD United manager Michael Ap­ple­ton in­sisted he was happy with a point against high-fly­ing Lu­ton Town, de­spite it ex­tend­ing his side’s win­less run at home to five games.

The U’s had to come from a goal be­hind as Jay­den Stockley put Lu­ton in front on 36 min­utes, be­fore Johnny Mullins lev­elled be­fore half-time with his first strike of the sea­son.

The re­sult leaves Ap­ple­ton’s side only six points off the drop zone, but the United boss said: “As points go it was as good a point as I’ve had for a while as manager be­cause of the way the lads ap­plied them­selves.

“Over the next few games we’ll find out whether it was a point gained or two points dropped, but when you look at the game as a whole, we had the bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“The first part of the sec­ond half, we started re­ally strongly and the lads have had three or four glo­ri­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Then Lu­ton came back into it for ten to 15 min­utes. It was a great game, there was real in­ten­sity about it and it ebbed and flowed. I was de­lighted with the way the lads went about it.”

Nathan Doyle went clos­est in­side the open­ing 60 sec­onds when he fired well over from Andy Drury’s pass.

Town then had an even bet­ter op­por­tu­nity as new sign­ing Ryan Hall was de­nied by keeper Ryan Clarke, who spread him­self to deny the winger from close range and Jay­den Stockley’s fol­low up de­flected be­hind.

Ox­ford should have taken the lead on 31 min­utes as Danny Hyl­ton re­leased Pa­trick Hoban, but he couldn’t beat Mark Tyler. The Hat­ters then had the lead on 36 min­utes when Shaun Whalley’s cross-shot was squeezed in by Stockley for his first Lu­ton goal.

How­ever, Ox­ford weren’t be­hind for long, lev­el­ling two min­utes be­fore the break as Mullins was left un­marked to drill into the bot­tom cor­ner.

Af­ter the break, U’s dead­line-day sign­ing Alex MacDon­ald and Josh Ruf­fels were both way­ward, while Mullins headed badly wide when com­pletely un­marked and Hoban’s goal was was dis­al­lowed for off­side.

O’Dowda poked tamely straight at Tyler, while James Roberts burst through as Tyler saved well with his legs.

Lu­ton al­most won it on 88 min­utes as Wall’s low free-kick was well par­ried by Clarke, while Jonathan Smith’s first time shot swerved off tar­get.

Hat­ters boss John Still said:“It was a fair re­sult. I thought we took the as­cen­dancy, but then I was dis­ap­pointed with the goal we con­ceded.

“I’m happy with the per­for­mance, I’m happy with the re­sult, and we’ve lost five games this sea­son, so I’m happy with that too.

“I thought they brought a few play­ers in and they looked quite strong. We de­fended okay and fin­ished strongly, which was pleas­ing. But I think both teams will look at it and think ‘That was about the right re­sult’.”

PIC­TURES: Gareth Owen

BUN­DLED HOME: Sam Stockley finds a way to goal for Lu­ton

GUIDED HOME: Lu­ton’s Mark Cullen heads for goal

STAR MAN DANNY HYL­TON

Ox­ford

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