U’s raising the Roofe as Kemar nets twice
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.”
STAR MAN JOHN LUNDSTRAM Oxford