Ap­ple­ton has sights on next cam­paign

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Nar­beh Mi­nas­sian

OX­FORD United manager Michael Ap­ple­ton ad­mit­ted he is al­ready plan­ning for next sea­son af­ter leav­ing AFC Wim­ble­don with a point.

In a game of few chances, vis­it­ing goal­keeper Jamie Ash­down ac­ro­bat­i­cally kept out Sean Rigg’s vol­ley on the half hour.

Rigg then saw his 86thminute header ruled out for off­side be­fore Ash­down once again came to the res­cue, claw­ing out Ade­bayo Ak­in­fenwa’s in­jury-time header.

The re­sult means Ox­ford have now gone four games with­out de­feat and Ap­ple­ton be­lieves with the right re­in­force­ments the U’s could be a force to be reck­oned with next term.

“We de­fended very, very well and had to de­fend a lot of crosses and did it man­fully,” said Ap­ple­ton.

“We are just dis­ap­pointed with our at­tack­ing play but that was ob­vi­ous for ev­ery­one to see.

“We just didn’t pro­duce in the fi­nal third and I think cer­tainly in the first 25 min­utes we had some great op­por­tu­ni­ties to go and hurt them.

“Wim­ble­don ob­vi­ously played bet­ter than my team but Neal Ard­ley is the home manager and he will want three points.

“But I’ve got to be happy com­ing away from home and get­ting a point.

“This was an op­por­tu­nity for play­ers to stake a claim for next sea­son be­cause there is no doubt about it there are go­ing to be hope­fully three or four qual­ity ad­di­tions to what we have al­ready got.”

Ak­in­fenwa went close twice and Ash­don kept out Rigg’s vol­ley on the half hour.

Ke­mar Roofe al­most made the hosts pay for their profli­gacy, fir­ing a shot just wide af­ter good work down the right just be­fore half-time.

Af­ter the break Ad­edeji Oshi­laja was stretchered off af­ter he landed badly on his head when jump­ing high for a header.

The game pe­tered out, although Wim­ble­don boss Neal Ard­ley was more con­cerned with ref­eree Lee Collins’ of­fi­ci­at­ing in the Oshi­laja in­ci­dent.

“Ad­edeji has gone to hos­pi­tal to have ev­ery­thing checked through,” Ard­ley said. “The phys­ios did a mag­nif­i­cent job and the ini­tial feel­ing is that he will be fine.

“But we have to rule out any­thing and they will do all the tests this evening.

“You al­ways have words with the ref, any­one on that pitch could see how hor­ri­ble it looked. First and fore­most it was a foul against Deji, then he goes down and it is clear that he’s done a bad in­jury and the ref waves play on.

“If you think there’s a se­ri­ous in­jury you stop the play.

“To be fair to him he came across af­ter and he apol­o­gised he said he got it to­tally wrong. Peo­ple make mis­takes.”


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