The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Claire Gould

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.”

PIC­TURES: Den­nis Good­win/Pro Sport

DE­FI­ANT: Ox­ford United mid­fielder Ryan Led­son (23) puts his body on the line in de­fence

AG­ILE: Si­mon East­wood saves well

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