East­wood spot on to res­cue U’s point

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Sam Gas­coyne

MICHAEL Ap­ple­ton’s Ox­ford side kept their slim play-off hopes alive thanks to a sec­ond-half penalty save by Si­mon East­wood in a ter­ri­ble game.

Ap­ple­ton vented his frus­tra­tion, say­ing: “I’d de­scribe that as two points dropped.

“Our de­ci­sion­mak­ing at times was ridicu­lous and we just didn’t have that killer in­stinct about us.

“It was a com­edy of er­rors that led to us giv­ing away a penalty and I’m dis­ap­pointed with it. There’ll be one or two play­ers de­lighted with their per­for­mance but one or two that’ll be re­ally dis­ap­pointed. It’s about get­ting the ba­sics right.

“It’s frus­trat­ing. I felt like we did more than enough, cer­tainly in the sec­ond half, to go on and win.”

The home side al­most took an early lead af­ter Keshi An­der­son picked up the ball in mid­field, steam­rolled through the Ox­ford ranks and into the penalty box, but his weak ef­fort was dealt with eas­ily by East­wood.

Ox­ford’s first real at­tempt on goal came af­ter half-an-hour when Conor McAleny struck from 25 yards out, the ball sail­ing nar­rowly wide.

Much to the dis­ap­point­ment of all in at­ten­dance, a dis­mal first half played out with vir­tu­ally noth­ing for ei­ther set of fans to shout about, other than a plethora of mis­placed passes and sloppy mis­takes.

Northamp­ton were handed a golden op­por­tu­nity af­ter East­wood took down Marc Richards in the box to gift the hosts a penalty, although he quickly made amends for his er­ror by ac­ro­bat­i­cally sav­ing Matt Taylor’s spot-kick.

The U’s al­most snatched all three points late on af­ter Joe Roth­well’s curl­ing ef­fort rat­tled the bar and Kane Hem­mings’ later strike was saved by Smith.

Cob­blers boss Justin Ed­in­burgh rued his side’s fail­ure to con­vert from the spot yet again, say­ing: “It was a re­ally fierce and com­pet­i­tive game but un­for­tu­nately a penalty miss has come back to haunt us yet again.

“I can’t fault the play­ers. Nei­ther de­fence was will­ing to give an inch. We had to de­fend our box re­ally well , es­pe­cially when Ox­ford had the wind be­neath their tails.

“De­fence has come out on top in the end. We showed char­ac­ter and put in the ef­fort, we dealt with them ever so well.

“I’m pleased with the progress we are mak­ing. When I first took over at the club I’d have had this game down as one we might have lost.”


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