Derry’s delighted despite defeat
CAMBRIDGE United boss Shaun Derry was buoyed by the performances of his new players, despite seeing them lose narrowly at promotion-chasing Oxford United.
A first-half goal from Ryan Taylor proved to be the difference in a closely-fought contest that saw the visitors denied agonsingly by three goal-line clearances in the last three minutes.
Derry had been appointed manager earlier this week, taking over from 60-year-old Richard Money with Cambridge – big spenders in the summer – finding themselves at the wrong end of the League Two table.
But despite losing his first game in charge, Derry took pride in the way his players performed and believes he has the tools at his disposal to begin making a difference as manager.
“I’m really proud of them and I’m proud to stand here as the Cambridge manager,” said the former Notts County boss, who won just 26 of his 77 games in charge at Meadow Lane.
“I’m looking forward to working with the team next week.
“I want to see everyone over the course of the week and I need to give everyone a fair crack of the whip.
“We showed a resolve that I think has been questioned in recent weeks.
“There were parts of the performance that I felt we can improve on, but we’ve come here and given them a real game.
“We’ve seen the best team win the game. I feel that Oxford will be promoted. They’re a real stand-out team.”
Oxford should have been ahead inside two minutes. Danny Hylton’s free header from Kemar Roofe’s cross was met with a superb save by Chris Dunn.
The visitors responded well as Oxford keeper Benjamin Buchel saved from Rory Gaffney’s header. Gaffney then turned provider for Harrison Dunk, who fired wide of the goal.
Oxford broke the deadlock just past the half-hour mark.
Roofe played in Alex MacDonald, who squared it for Taylor. The former Portsmouth striker kept his nerve to slot home his third league goal of the season.
After his superb save in the first half, Dunn nearly gifted Oxford a second goal just before the hour mark.The ex-Northampton keeper slipped under pressure from Hylton, who then rounded the Dunn but hit the underside of the bar.
Taylor then thought he had grabbed his second on 65 minutes, but his composed finish from Roofe’s through ball was ruled out for offside.
Cambridge struggled in their quest for an equaliser, but striker Barry Corr was denied by three goal-line clearances inside the final three minutes.
Alex MacDonald, Johnny Mullins and Danny Hylton all came to Oxford’s rescue to deny Cambridge’s top scorer, as the home side held on to continue their quest for automatic promotion.
“It was crucial to keep a clean sheet,” said Oxford manager Michael Appleton, whose team are second in the League Two table, five points behind Plymouth Argyle.“It was a bit of a nervy end, which is always the case if you only score one goal.
“We created lots of chances and you’re always giving the opportunity for the opposition to get something out of the game if you don’t get the second goal.
“But they didn’t panic and defended well.
“In the four games before Ryan [Taylor] got his first goal, I thought his performances were spot on.
“Over the last six or seven games, I think everyone is seeing the player they were hoping to see.”