AP­PLE­TON: I KNEW LU­TON WOULD CAVE

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Mike Sim­monds

SU­PER-SUB Pat Hoban bagged Ox­ford United a point with his in­jury-time strike and man­ager Michael Ap­ple­ton never doubted the equaliser would ar­rive.

The striker was thrown on with 18 min­utes re­main­ing and his side trail­ing 2-0, fol­low­ing goals from Luke Wilkin­son and Cameron McGee­han.

And, af­ter Ke­mar Roofe pulled one back with a de­flected shot, Hoban pounced on an er­ror from Mark Tyler to equalise in stop­page time.

“The com­mit­ment and the en­deav­our that this group have got said ev­ery­thing in the last ten min­utes,” said Ap­ple­ton.

“Around 74-75 min­utes mark I was say­ing if we could get one back be­fore 80, I re­ally fancy us. It got to 83 when we got the goal, but we were re­ally con­fi­dent then as we knew were on the front foot.

“We spoke about the last 20 min­utes. It wasn’t in the plan to be two down, but if we were one down with 20 min­utes to go, we cer­tainly knew we’d come at them.

“The goals we con­ceded were dis­ap­point­ing, but we’ve got an ab­so­lute no blame cul­ture here and we cer­tainly won’t be point­ing any fin­gers at peo­ple.

“We went be­hind, but I’m ab­so­lutely de­lighted we got back into it.”

The hosts had en­joyed by far the bet­ter of the early ex­changes in a barn­storm­ing open­ing 20 min­utes as McGee­han fired over, while Craig Mack­ail-Smith was well de­nied by Sam Slo­combe. Ox­ford grad­u­ally grew into the game, hav­ing chances of their own as Alex Mac­Don­ald, Liam Ser­combe and Roofe were all de­nied by Tyler. The Hat­ters then took the lead on 43 min­utes when Wilkin­son, who had ear­lier thun­dered over from 25 yards, climbed high­est to meet Paddy McCourt’s cor­ner to head home.

He al­most had a sec­ond, with Danny Hyl­ton clear­ing his header off the line and Paul Ben­son nod­ding the re­bound against the post from close range. Vis­it­ing keeper Slo­combe then fum­bled McGee­han’s shot inches wide, while Ryan Tay­lor was nar­rowly off tar­get for United with a header of his own.

Af­ter fi­nally re­gain­ing the as­cen­dancy Lu­ton looked like they would go on to se­cure three points when McGee­han showed great de­ter­mi­na­tion to slot low into the net af­ter 69 min­utes. But Ox­ford weren’t show­ing signs of giv­ing up the ghost as Danny Rose whizzed inches wide, while cen­tre half Johnny Mullins’ in­stinc­tive volley can­noned against the bar.

Roofe made it 2-1 on 83 min­utes, be­fore McGee­han fluffed a much eas­ier chance from close range af­ter Slo­combe had par­ried Jonathan Smith’s low drive back out in front of him, with the for­mer Nor­wich young­ster blaz­ing over.

And the young midfielder was made to pay for his profli­gacy as a deep cross wasn’t gath­ered by Tyler and Hoban even­tu­ally turned the ball over the line at the sec­ond at­tempt.

“We can’t do a lot about the first one, it’s football,” re­flected Lu­ton boss John Still. “Mark would 99 times out of 100 deal with the sec­ond one, but he didn’t and we have to take point.

“We had lots of good po­si­tions and op­por­tu­ni­ties as I was re­ally pleased with how we played.

“We all make mis­takes though, some­times you don’t get pun­ished for them, some­times you do, Mark has been bril­liant for us, so I haven’t got any prob­lems with that.

“We said at half-time, we know they’re a de­cent side and would come at us, but that our way of play­ing would cre­ate chances.

“Some­times you make er­rors and er­rors hurt you.”

PIC­TURES: Gareth Owen

LUKE WHO’S TALK­ING: Lu­ton led when Luke Wilkin­son scored but there were twists to come

HEAVEN AND HELL: It’s mixed emo­tions as Ox­ford get their re­ward late on

STAR MAN LUKE WILKIN

SON Lu­tonTown

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