APPLETON ANNOYED OVER FLAG
OXFORD United manager Michael Appleton believes a lack of confidence is causing problems for his side after drawing another blank at home to Walsall.
In a game of few clear chances, Ryan Taylor thought he had won the game for the home side only to see his effort ruled out for offside.
Appleton was left frustrated with the decision and believes the goal should have stood and his side were desperately unlucky not to take all three points from the encounter.
Appleton said: “There’s a lack of anticipation I suppose from some of our front players at the minute.
“And you only get that through confidence and you only get that from scoring goals, so ultimately they’ve got to find that themselves.
“I thought it was quite clear that Ryan (Taylor) was onside to be fair.
“We were getting the message straight away that it was onside but it is what it is.
“At the end of the day it’s 0-0, we move on, it’s a point.
“2016 as far as I’m concerned has been a fantastic year for the football club and I look forward to 2017.”
The first half was a fairly scrappy affair with few chances of note for either side.
Walsall defender James O’Connor was unlucky to see his goal-bound effort blocked from Flo Cuvelier’s floated leftwing free-kick.
Five minutes before half-time Amadou Bakayoko fired narrowly over for Walsall from a tight angle after a neat throughball from Joe Edwards.
The second half was a livelier affair, with Walsall coming out of the blocks quicker than their hosts.
Simeon Jackson blazed over the bar when well-placed from Scott Laird’s pull-back on the hour mark.
Oxford had the ball in the back of the net with 15 minutes remaining but substitute Taylor’s lobbed effort was adjudged to be offside.
Oxford goalkeeper Simon Eastwood pulled off a spectacular save in the 89th minute to prevent Che Dunkley from scoring an own goal after substitute Erhun Oztumer’s cross was deflected goalwards.
There was still time for more late drama as Oztumer set up fellow substitute Kieron Morris, whose effort was deflected wide for a corner.
Walsall manager Jon Whitney was particularly pleased with the performance of 19year-old debutant Kory Roberts.
Whitney said: “A special mention for Kory Roberts, we all just gave him a round of applause in there. “You always remember your debut, I always remember mine and it’s nice to be the manager that has given him that game. He did really well and I’m proud of the kid and I’m proud of the players for helping him through it. “There’s times when sometimes the players step in and they step to another level and he’s got that game under his belt now and he’ll get stronger.”
“The anxiety always takes a bit away from you but I think he did really well and credit to the kid.”
DEFIANT: Oxford United midfielder Ryan Ledson (23) puts his body on the line in defence
AGILE: Simon Eastwood saves well