Ap­ple­ton con­vinced U’s fi­nally de­liv­er­ing

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Chris McHugh

OX­FORD UNITED man­ager Michael Ap­ple­ton be­lieves his play­ers are be­gin­ning to play the kind of foot­ball in their new League One home that made them such a joy to watch in League Two.

Charl­ton cap­tain John­nie Jack­son had opened the scor­ing with a con­tro­ver­sial sec­ond­half penalty be­fore Ox­ford hero Chris Maguire equalised shortly after­wards.

Ap­ple­ton was an­noyed by ref­eree Keith Stroud’s de­ci­sion, but stressed the man­ner of his play­ers’ re­cov­ery was more im­por­tant.

“To con­cede a goal to a bla­tant push was dis­ap­point­ing but the way we re­sponded was great. Magsy (Maguire) is the one you want on the end of things when you need to fin­ish it off,” he said.

“The play­ers are start­ing to re­ally find their feet in this divi­sion. I thought both sides were re­ally good and it was a re­ally good game of foot­ball.

“We knew that we’d get op­por­tu­ni­ties to counter at­tack by play­ing five in the mid­field, and that’s how it panned out when we got that op­por­tu­nity.

“But then you’ve got to ex­e­cute it, and I thought we did that re­ally well.”

It was a thrilling con­test. Si­mon East­wood was called into ac­tion on 40 min­utes, smoth­er­ing the ball from Ade­mola Look­man af­ter the ex­cit­ing 18year-old was put clean through by Chris Solly.

On 54 min­utes, de­spite claims of a push, Phil Ed­wards was ad­judged by Keith Stroud to have han­dled Look­man’s floated cross. Jack­son’s calm penalty was hit right down the mid­dle.

Ox­ford’s equaliser was beau­ti­fully con­structed. Break­ing at pace, Hem­mings slid the ball to Maguire on the edge of the area who drilled his shot across goal past Rudd. Charl­ton boss Rus­sell Slade was dis­ap­pointed in his side’s de­fend­ing for the goal, but was pleased with their per­for­mance.

Slade said: “They equalised out of the blue on the counter, which we knew would be one of their threats. We didn’t keep our bal­ance at the back well enough.

“But we got suck­ered on the counter. When we go for­ward we have to re­mem­ber what we leave be­hind.

“In that tran­si­tion, teams can be a threat and that’s what they’ve done to us. They’ve suck­ered us.

“We dom­i­nated the mid­dle of the park in pe­ri­ods against a team who like to do that them­selves.

“If we keep per­form­ing like that there’s no doubt we can turn the draws into wins and climb up the ta­ble.”

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