Left shaken by magic Magpies
RUSS Wilcox insists Notts County are the best side he has come across this season as they halted his York City side’s unbeaten run with victory in front of their own fans.
Izale McLeod’s fourth goal since joining Notts County from Crawley in the 12th minute proved enough for the Magpies to record a fourth straight win at Meadow Lane.
And despite rueing a poor first-half,Wilcox was refusing to get too downbeat with a first loss in four games after being impressed with the performance of the hosts.
“The first-half was shocking,” Wilcox said.“We gave them too much time on the ball.We matched up their system and it was about being better than the man you are playing against.
“Notts are the best side I’ve seen this season, but we stuck with it. The attitude was first class, but we lack quality in certain areas of the pitch.
“We know we can be better. They are a quality team, I watched them at Crawley and they smashed them.
“We certainly were not on our game, but the longer it stayed 1-0 it gave us an opportunity to get something out of the game.
“We certainly had a go and we got in amongst them in the second-half. The black and white shirts were a lot better than us in the first-half.
“It’s alright talking about us as being a nice footballing team, but you have to do the ugly bits and we didn’t do that.”
The goal came as a long ball from Liam Noble carved open the York defence. Scott Flinders looked to be odds-on to make a routine clearance but missed his kick completely to allow McLeod the simplest of finishes.
Notts County manager Ricardo Moniz said:“I am pleased of course because it kept the home run going. It’s four wins now, although we could have done with the second goal.
“The first 30 minutes were very good. There was a chance we have had a penalty but I won’t say anything about the referee.
“I’ve always said I respect their decisions and the time I didn’t I got in trouble with the FA. “So I am not going to react other than say make it 2-0, make it 3-0.
“It was three massive points for us, especially after the bitterness of losing to AFC Wimbledon like we did.
“But we have washed that out of our system and the pleasing aspect for me is that we were more consistent at the back.
“We kept a first clean sheet since the opening day of the season and you can only play offensive when you think defensive.
“Alan Sheehan came in and did a good job. He will give us more leadership.”
MICHAEL APPLETON backed Oxford’s misfiring front-men to come good after seeing his promotion contenders held to a goalless home draw by seventh-placed Morecambe.
Kemar Roofe’s second-half penalty miss cost the hosts three precious points.
And boss Appleton said: “When you’re at home and you keep a clean sheet, you expect to win the game.
“We’re going to go through spells like that, but as long as we’re playing well and defending well, I have ultimate trust in my players that they’ll eventually start scoring goals.
“The conversation I’ve just had with the players is a lot different to the one we had last season, so it shows just how far we’ve come in such a short space of time.
“We’ll now go to York and enjoy it, I think we’re a decent team away from home.We got a decent result there last year but we know it’s going to be tough.”
Oxford striker Danny Hylton had the first chance of the match after 18 minutes but his long-range effort was way off target.
Morecambe’s Kevin Ellison came the closest to opening the scoring when he rose highest to meet a cross but his header was tipped onto the crossbar by Sam Slocombe.
And Roofe nearly broke the deadlock five minutes from half-time but his powerful low shot was well saved by Barry Roche in the Morecambe goal.
The hosts thought they had a penalty when midfielder Liam Sercombe went down in the penalty area but referee Tim Robinson waved away the protests.
And Morecambe rode their luck in added time of the first-half when defender Ryan Edwards tried to clear the danger but his clearance clipped his own post.
Appleton’s side were close to taking the lead just after the break but Danny Rose’s close-range effort went wide.
Oxford continued to push for the opener and Morecambe’s Adam Dugdale nearly put the ball in his own net with a poorly-timed clearance.
Roofe had the chance to put the hosts in front when he was brought down in the penalty area by Shaun Beeley.
Beeley was somewhat lucky to only receive a yellow card. The resulting penalty was poor and was easily saved by Roche diving low to his left. Despite some late pressure by the hosts, they couldn’t find the winner and Morecambe manager Jim Bentley says his team issued the perfect response to last week’s defeat at Northampton.
Bentley said:“Oxford have quality players all across the board, and they’ve got some of the top footballers in the division.
“They play good football and I was pleased with how the lads defended.They were excellent, Oxford had the ball for large parts of the game, but we stood up to that and I’m happy with the point.
“We’re only nine games into the season, so these players are only going to get better.
“When called upon we knew Barry Roche was going to have to play well and he did with the penalty save being the key moment.”
WHAM, BAM THANK YOU SAM: Sam Slocombe saves a Kevin Ellison effort STAR MAN CALLUM O’DOW
STAR MAN IZALE