Alex gives Balotelli les­son in man­ners

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Jack Vit­tles

AF­TER the furore over penalty tak­ers this week at An­field, it ap­pears not ev­ery­one is as des­per­ate for the lime­light as Mario Balotelli – just ask Ox­ford’s Alex MacDon­ald.

De­spite be­ing on a hat­trick, the U’s for­ward let strike part­ner Danny Hyl­ton seal a com­fort­able win against Mans­field.

It was in stark con­trast to Balotelli’s very public hu­mil­i­a­tion of Liver­pool team­mate Jor­dan Hen­der­son on Thurs­day against Be­sik­tas, and Ox­ford boss Michael Ap­ple­ton ad­mits it was a sight for sore eyes.

“Danny wanted a goal so he took the penalty, MacDon­ald was more than happy to let him take it even though he was on a hat­trick,” said Ap­ple­ton.

“We know MacDon­ald from his Bur­ton days, and we know that he’s got goals in him. I ac­tu­ally though his sec­ond goal was a fan­tas­tic fin­ish and re­ally showed his qual­ity.

“There’s been a real fo­cus in train­ing this week.We’ve not had time to dwell on pre­vi­ous re­sults and we came out with a great at­ti­tude.

“We did what needed to be done, the pitch wasn’t great but I thought we played well.

“The pitch wasn’t con­ducive to pretty foot­ball. We kept things sim­ple and then showed our qual­ity in the fi­nal third.

“All our con­fi­dence came flood­ing back, it’s strange how.”

The hosts’ first goal came cour­tesy of an er­ror from Stags goal­keeper Lenny Pidge­ley, as he missed his at­tempted punch and left MacDon­ald with a sim­ple fin­ish from six yards.

Ox­ford stepped up the pace in the sec­ond half and com­pletely out­classed the vis­i­tors as they net­ted an­other two goals.

MacDon­ald picked up his sec­ond of the match as he scored from the edge of the box in the 54th minute with a rasp­ing ef­fort. And top scorer Hyl­ton then calmly stroked away a penalty af­ter Ryan Tafa­zolli fouled Michael Hoban to see Ox­ford bounce back from two suc­ces­sive away de­feats in five days.

“We’re aw­ful away from home,” con­ceded Mans­field boss Adam Mur­ray.“I can’t put ev­ery sit­u­a­tion right; we are where we are in the league be­cause of days like this.

“I want to keep ev­ery­one, the play­ers and fans, on an even keel. I don’t want an er­ratic mind-set where peo­ple think we’re be­ing rel­e­gated off the back of one poor per­for­mance.

“We need to be bet­ter or­gan­ised, and for some rea­son on a poor pitch we kept testing out Lenny with back-passes.

“I think the ef­fort was there for ev­ery­one to see. I don’t think we need to add, the lads will freshen up this week.”


NALD Ox­ford

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