AP­PLE­TON REL­ISH­ING U’S FORM

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

THERE will be ar­gu­ments at Ox­ford United all week as to who scored their 90thminute win­ner, but man­ager Michael Ap­ple­ton cares not a jot whose boot it went off.

Curtis Nel­son drilled a low shot to­wards goal and it looked like Phil Ed­wards might have got a touch be­fore it flew past Luke Daniels. But Ap­ple­ton’s pri­or­ity was the vic­tory, and yet an­other last­minute home win­ner.

“I’ll let them ar­gue and fight about it,” he smiled. “I was just de­lighted with the three points be­cause I thought we de­served the vic­tory.

“In the sec­ond half there was only one team that was go­ing to win the game. I ex­pect my side to cre­ate at least one good chance in the last few min­utes of a game and take it, which we did.

“We’re at our best when we’re on the front foot and re­ally com­pet­ing. When we do that we’re difficult to beat and when we’re not we give the op­po­si­tion too much re­spect.”

Af­ter 12 min­utes of an oth­er­wise dire first half, Neal Bishop slid a su­perb pass in to Paddy Mad­den on the left cor­ner of the area, who curled an inch-per­fect ef­fort past Si­mon East­wood into the far cor­ner.

Six min­utes af­ter the restart, an ex­cel­lent cross from the left from Joe Skarz was met first time from close range by John Lund­stram, who fired low past Daniels.

The goal sent a jolt through the home side, who sud­denly be­came dan­ger­ous. Four min­utes later Lund­stram nearly dou­bled his tally, thun­der­ing the ball against the un­der­side of the bar from 20 yards.

As the game looked to be pe­ter­ing out, Ox­ford sud­denly piled on the pres­sure. Daniels kept out Lund­stram with a su­perb re­ac­tion save on 86 min­utes but, four min­utes later, he was pow­er­less to pre­vent the win­ner.

Scun­thorpe man­ager Gra­ham Alexan­der ques­tioned the va­lid­ity of the win­ning goal but also ad­mit­ted his side’s care­less­ness had cost them.

“I think [Ed­wards] was off­side, but I could be wrong,” he said. “The at­tack­ing side, the home side, looks to have been given the ben­e­fit of the doubt.

“We’re not get­ting the big de­ci­sions at the mo­ment and it’s hurt­ing us. Those mar­gins, those ac­tions in games, are cost­ing us at the mo­ment. “We’re dev­as­tated to con­cede a goal so late. We’ve let in sloppy goals at each end of the first half and it’s some­thing we need to im­prove on. “For a team as good as us, we con­cede too many goals and it’s some­thing we all have to cor­rect that if we want to be suc­cess­ful.”

PIC­TURES: Adam Rivers/ProS­ports

LATE SHOW: Curtis Nel­son gets a hug af­ter scor­ing his in­jury-time win­ner

PADDY’S DAY: Scun­thorpe’s Paddy Mad­den celebrates

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