Appleton frustrated as the Us switch off
OXFORD United boss Michael Appleton was left bitterly disappointed after his side failed to claim three points at home to Crawley Town.
After a dire first half in which neither team mustered a shot on target, Gwion Edwards headed Crawley in front 11 minutes into the second half.
Danny Hylton quickly restored parity with an angled finish, but they were rare openings in a true stalemate that always looked like ending level.
Appleton said:“I didn’t see them scoring a goal if I’m being totally honest. We switched off from a throw-in and it cost us, but they showed grit and determination to get back in the game.
“It’s difficult when the opposition come for a point, but we’ve got to expect that for the majority of the season where teams will put a lot of players behind the ball.
“Frustration is very much the word at the moment and it’s going to take me 24 hours to get their goal out of my head, but I was really happy with the way they dug in and got themselves back into it.”
Town’s Luke Rooney and Oxford’s Danny Rose showed flashes of creativity in a dour first period, but they were mere embers in a contest bereft of innovation or incident.
Oxford gained the ascendancy at the start of the second half as they fashioned opportunities for Kemar Roofe and Alex MacDonald, but it was Edwards who struck the first blow.
The hosts lost concentration from a throw-in, allowing Jimmy Smith to flick on Roarie Deacon’s cross for the otherwise wasteful Edwards to nod into an open net.
Jon Ashton then headed Rooney’s corner wide and Hylton swiftly made them pay as he latched on o a neat Rose pass over the top and lashed a rasping half-volley inside the far post.
With the game petering out, Town goalkeeper Freddie Woodman saved from Roofe’s looping effort and Johnny Mullins’ header in quick succession.
Edwards’ goal represented his team’s sole shot on target but Crawley boss Mark Yates said:“For the first game of the season, I couldn’t ask any more of the players.
“It was stifling hot out there and we absolutely worked our socks off.We switched off once and got punished, but apart from that, we had a game plan and the boys absolutely nailed it.
“The group I’ve got are the most honest group I’ve ever seen. They are workers and prepared to put a shift in.
“They were magnificent and I’m just disappointed for them that we didn’t see the game out like I thought we deserved. It was a really good away performance.”