Eastwood spot on to rescue U’s point
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.”
STAR MAN SIMON EASTWOOD Oxford