Alex gives Balotelli lesson in manners
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.”
STAR MAN ALEX MACDO