Game as Stags miss spot-kick
ADAM Murray refused to pin the blame on Matt Green after his missed penalty allowed Oxford to fight back and deny Mansfield a first home win of the season.
Green squandered Mansfield’s first spot kick for 86 games in the eighth minute, three minutes after Craig Westcarr blasted the home side in front on his full debut.
And Kemar Roofe deservedly levelled for Oxford from the penalty spot on the hour, stretching their unbeaten run to 13 matches – their best in the league for 21 years.
Murray said: “Matt has just apologised to me and said he let me down, which shows how honest he is. He is a big player for us.
“To to go toeto-toe with one of the favourites for this league and come out with a point has to be pleasing.
“It should have been all over in the first 20 minutes when we might have been three up but sometimes that’s the way these things go and you end up grinding out a point.
“When they got chances we relied on our shot-stopper. That’s what he gets paid for and he pulled off a couple of worldies.”
Westcarr lashed in a 16yard half-volley after Oxford failed to clear Adam Chapman’s long throw to give the home side a dream start.
Five minutes later Mitchell Rose’s determination forced Oxford keeper Sam Slocombe into a rash trip, gifting Mansfield their first penalty since October 2013.
However, Green, against his old club, crashed the spot kick against the bar with Slocombe beaten, before the keeper denied the striker when one-onone moments later.
As Oxford fought back from their slow start a flying save by Brian Jensen kept out Roofe’s curling free-kick and Alex MacDonald’s low drive struck the post.
The visitors continued to dominate in the second half and were rewarded when Reggie Lambe fouled Callum O’Dowda, allowing Roofe to level from the penalty spot.
Roofe then miscued a George Baldock cross at the far post before Jensen denied Hylton a late winner with a diving save.
Oxford boss Michael Appleton said: “We were lucky in the first ten minutes.We should have been 2-0 down and possibly 3-0. I have got to be happy with the character we showed to come back.
“For ten minutes we were rubbish but after that we got back into it and settled down.
“The message at halftime was to make sure we start right.We did that and in the second half we were very good at times.
“A couple of better decisions in the box and if a couple of ricochets had gone our way we might have won. It was a game we would have lost last season.”
STAR MAN RYAN TAFAZO