No early presents as United draw a blank at York

Article by Jack Shoemark Sunday, December 22nd, 2013  

Oxford United will head into Christmas well in the Skybet League Two promotion race after a battling 0-0 draw with York City at Bootham Crescent. The point also ensured that United remain unbeaten away from home in 9 games this season and in fact haven’t lost away since April.

Chris Wilder kept an unchanged side and bench from the last gasp victory over Dagenham last week with Josh Ruffels keeping his place ahead of the fit again Sean Rigg whilst Michael Raynes had to be content again with a place in the dugouts. York’s midfield contained one time United loanee Lewis Montrose whilst the only face remaining from the Wembley 2010 game to start was David McGurk.

It appeared that both sides may have had an early Christmas dinner as the game got off to a slow start. James Constable twice set his sights in the opening exchanges but both efforts provided more danger to York Minster than Aaron McCarey’s goal. At the other end, there was no major cause for panic as United’s backline stood firm against the pace of Josh Carson and Ryan Brobbel. Carson did have a cross/shot blocked but the majority of the first half hour was spent with a lot of “aimless dinking” with both sides hoping to release their wingers and ultimately failing. Carson sent a shot a few yards wide as he cut in from the right before Constable fired straight at McCarey from the edge of the box on 40 minutes to notch United’s first shot on target.  Keith Lowe saw yellow for a challenge on Ruffels that saw home fans protest his innocence and away fans call for a more severe punishment, in all honesty, a yellow was the most it deserved. A header from Ryan Jarvis flashed wide but wouldn’t have counted anyway as the linesman was flagging for offside well before Jarvis connected with the ball.

At half-time, it was clear to all that the game would be decided by one side or the other taking an advantage of a single golden opportunity. The half began with York being quicker out of the blocks than United. Luke O’Neill and Carson were linking well down the right but Tom Newey ensured there was to be no alarm for Ryan Clarke in the Oxford goal. Danny Rose had a speculative effort from 25 yards held by McCarey before the first golden chance fell to York. After Johnny Mullins and Jake Wright got themselves in a muddle, Jarvis ran through 1 on 1 against Clarke, his low shot was fantastically saved by the legs of Clarke – perhaps it was to be Chris Wilder’s day. Moments later, substitute Michael Coulson hit a rising shot that Clarke easily dealt with before United had a string of half chances in quick succession. Dave Kitson met a David Hunt free kick with his head but saw it hit McCarey, Asa Hall’s low shot was spilled by McCarey but neither Kitson nor Ryan Williams could get on the end of the rebound and Constable saw a driven effort well held by McCarey. Sub Deane Smalley flashed a shot across the face of goal before Mullins bravely cleared away from under his own cross bar.

Oxford were to have their own golden chance and it fell to 103 goal man Constable; working a bit of room for a shot, the striker had the entire goal at his mercy but contrived to fire his shot straight at McCarey. The miss summed up the game with the final bit of quality missing from both sides at the vital moments. York huffed and puffed in the final stages with a number of balls hit into the United penalty area but Clarke and the tremendous back four mopped them all up to ensure the U’s would be heading home with another well-earned and battling point. After a dull first 70 and an end to end final 20 – they will be very happy with a point in a game that could have gone either way.

Ruffels made way for Rigg just before the hour mark whilst Smalley replaced the tiring Williams with 15 minutes left. The referee was Keith Hill taking charge of his first Oxford game since February 2011 against Southend where he sent off Damian Batt.  He made a habit of picking up soft fouls but not punishing more blatant ones – much to both sets of fans annoyance. He booked Montrose for persistent fouling, Lowe for the tackle on Ruffels and Ben Davies for something or other. Jake Wright was the only yellow to see yellow after he didn’t move out of the way for Wes Fletcher in the closing stages. The crowd was 3526 with 455 supporting Chris Wilder’s side.

United are second in the league a point behind Chesterfield following the Spireite’s win at Exeter on Friday night. Scunthorpe sit a further point behind in 3rd, two points ahead of Fleetwood and Burton. Newport – whose game against AFC Wimbledon was postponed – are 6th whilst Southend take up the final playoff place. York are 21st, three points above bottom side Northampton who sacked Aidy Boothroyd after a 4-1 home thrashing by Wycombe.

Oxford entertain Plymouth Argyle on Boxing Day in the Big Match (in case you didn’t know) looking to earn back to back home victories.

Merry Christmas!

This entry was posted on Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 at 4:54 pm and appears under 2013, Match Report. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

© Rage Online 1998 - 2018 All rights reserved. If you want to copy stuff, please quote the source

another fine mash from ox4encoding