SEASIDE AIR SETS UP U’S FOR BIG WIN
BACK-TO-BACK away wins and a squad day out to Blackpool Pleasure Beach – it has not been a bad week at work for Oxford boss Michael Appleton.
His side leapfrogged Stanley and moved up to third place in the table with a hard-fought 3-1 victory against the division’s in-form side.
Callum O’Dowda gave Oxford the lead midway through the first half but Matt Crooks levelled 20 minutes from time.
The visitors regained their lead when Liam Sercombe turned the ball home from close-range before the midfielder doubled his tally and sealed the three points from the spot three minutes from time.
And Appleton was beaming with delight come full-time.
“We have had a great week,” he said. “There has been a lot of camaraderie between the staff and players.
“We have had a really good week. It has been great on and off the field and two away victories – it doesn’t get any better.
“It was a tough game.We fully expected that.
“It was important we got something from the game. The way we started gave us the platform we wanted and we knew they would try and play out from the back.
“We got a goal ahead and I thought we fully deserved it and then I felt we should have put them away in the first ten minutes of the second half.
“We almost gave them a lifeline. They got a bit of luck with the goal and for ten or 15 minutes it was tough and fair play to them.
“They were fourth in the divison because they are a half-decent side.”
Stanley fans were caught celebrating prematurely early in the first half when Josh Windass attempted to lob a stranded Sam Slocombe from distance but his effort landed on the roof of the net.
And moments later the visitors were ahead – O’Dowda fired through the legs of Mooney after meeting Kemar Roofe’s cross from the left. Sean McConville missed a glaring chance to level a minute later when he directed Adam Buxton’s cross straight at Slocombe.
The stop-start game rarely showed glimpses of a top-six encounter but kicked into action in the second half when Mooney spilled substitute Jordan Graham’s cross at the feet of O’Dowda but the midfielder shot straight against the ruck of bodies that rushed back onto the goal line.
And from the following corner Roofe headed the ball past Mooney but Windass was in the right place at the right time to head clear.
Stanley weathered the U’s storm and drew level through Crooks’ 70thminute strike. The towering midfielder notched his second in as many games with a deflected effort from the edge of the area which nestled in the top corner.
The hosts should then have taken the lead when Billy Kee headed against the crossbar from two yards out and Windass lifted the rebound over the bar. Oxford regained their lead on the 79th minute as Sercombe slammed home from close range following Graham’s mazy run and cross from the right.
Sercombe doubled the lead with three minutes to go from the penalty spot after Wakefield fouled Roofe in the area.
Stanley boss John Coleman said: “We conceded the first and second goals when we were miles on top and that’s a problem we must address.
“People will go away thinking that they are a good side and they are, but they are no better than us.
“We had the best chances. We missed three sitters.”
OPENER: Callum O’Dowda wheels away after scoring for Oxford
STOP IT IF YOU CAN: Liam Sercombe scores from the spot for Oxford