Ap­ple­ton frus­trated as the Us switch off

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Ross Marti­novic

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.”

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