Hylton the talisman as Oxford stroll it
MICHAEL Appleton believes his Oxford side could have had six or seven goals against a poor Cambridge team.
Strikers Kemar Roofe and Danny Hylton hit the visitors with a double salvo in the final 15 minutes of the first half and Oxford could have had more goals but for some poor finishing and series of last-ditch clearances from the U’s defenders.
“It was a very good performance from the players. Their approach play was very good and the only disappointment is they didn’t score more goals on the day,” said Appleton.
“Defensively, we were sound, and going forward we opened them up many times.
“I don’t think they could have grumbled if it was six or seven.
“Danny Hylton has done well for us today and this season. He works his socks off week in, week out.”
The first half had a distinctly end-of-season feel to it, with both teams safe in the bottom half.
There was some concern when Oxford defender Johnny Mullins went down following a clash with Cambridge’s Tom Elliott.
He had to be taken off by stretcher after a long spell of treatment.
“Mullins had a little bit of concussion,” revealed Appleton.
“He was knocked out in the incident but he’s OK now. I just spoke to him in the dressing room and we’ll assess him in the coming days.”
Oxford broke the deadlock in the 31st minute when Roofe profited from good work by Hylton to curl a spectacular first-time shot past Will Norris. It was the on-loan West Brom man’s third goal in two games.
Michael Nelson cleared a Chey Dunkley header off the line as Oxford pressed for a second just before the break, but it was only a temporary reprieve as Hylton was able to head in from the resulting corner. After the restart it was one-way traffic, with Alex Macdonald having a shot hooked clear from under the bar, before striking the inside of the post. Substitute Kyle Vassell was then denied by Norris after running clear in the closing stages. Cambridge boss Richard Money, who hauled Elliott off before half-time in a tactical move, admitted his side were second best.
And he hinted that big changes could be coming at the Abbey Stadium in the summer.
“It wasn’t an easy pitch to finish on and we had a lot of situations where we should have done better,” he said.
“The better team won and we have one game to go .Whatever needs to be said will be said after that.”
On the Elliott substitution, he added: “Centre forwards are supposed to run, aren’t they?”
STAR MAN DANNY HYLTON