U’s rais­ing the Roofe as Ke­mar nets twice

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Ryan Wal­ters

OX­FORD United will take a two-goal cush­ion into next month’s John­stone’s Paint Tro­phy area fi­nal se­cond leg, but man­ager Michael Ap­ple­ton be­lieves his side should have killed off a lack­lus­tre Mill­wall on Thurs­day.

The U’s mem­o­rable week con­tin­ued as they claimed their se­cond scalp over higher-league op­po­si­tion in five days.

Hav­ing reached the FA Cup fourth round for the first time in 17 years last Sun­day with a 3-2 tri­umph over Premier League Swansea City, Ke­mar Roofe was the match-win­ner for Ox­ford once again, bag­ging two goals be­fore the break.

But af­ter rid­ing their luck in the se­cond half, Ap­ple­ton was frus­trated they could not take a greater lead back to the Kas­sam Sta­dium.

“I was dis­ap­pointed we got deeper af­ter half­time,” he said.“Some of our ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers should know bet­ter than that be­cause it was an op­por­tu­nity to get three or four goals and re­ally wrap the tie up.

“We asked Benji Buchel to make too many saves and I ex­pect a dif­fer­ent per­for­mance at the Kas­sam. I don’t want to get car­ried away or sound ar­ro­gant, but when you know what the play­ers are ca­pa­ble of you want it all the time.

“We still have an­other tie to deal with, and it’s go­ing to be a dif­fi­cult game for us.They are a side one place off the play-offs in League One, very com­pet­i­tive and a very dan­ger­ous side away from home. But we’ve got a 2-0 win and we have to be happy.”

The U’s took the lead on 15 min­utes as Roofe’s cross from the left was helped in­side his near post by Mill­wall stop­per David Forde.

The 23-year-old stole the head­lines with his dou­ble, but man of the match John Lund­stram re­ally caught the eye in Ox­ford’s mid­field and it was his bril­liant 25-yarder that cre­ated the se­cond as it struck the un­der­side of the bar – Roofe re­act­ing quick­est to con­vert the re­bound.

But de­spite their two-goal deficit, Lions boss Neil Har­ris is con­fi­dent his side can turn it round in the se­cond leg.

He said:“We are dis­ap­pointed and frus­trated, but you don’t win foot­ball matches if you do not take your chances.

“They are a re­ally good side and a team that will be in League One next sea­son in my opin­ion.

“It’s go­ing to be tough and we’ve given our­selves a moun­tain to climb but we are ca­pa­ble.

“We’ve shown this sea­son that we can go any­where and win. And if Ox­ford can come here and win 2-0 then we are cer­tainly ca­pa­ble of win­ning by two there.”



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