Alright skip?

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Alright skip?

Post by GodalmingYellow » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:45 am

What a fabulous night. One of those games that will go down in the classics.

I must admit I was slightly concerned that our injuries would affect our performance. I had nothing to worry about.

Although Brum began slightly stronger than us, after 5 minutes or so we were toe to toe with them and often better. I would say we shaded the first half. Our keep ball play and then change of pace with excellent movement stunned Birmingham, who I reckon perhaps under-estimated us. Second half we were definitely the better side. In extra time it was very even as both sides tired.

Wes was clearly up for this game, having previously been on the Birmingham payroll, and until he went off injured, he looked like the striker we hope he can be. Very strong holding onto the ball, decent movement and a desire to take a share of the donkey work, as well as getting in decent scoring positions. It was a disappointment that he had to go off and for a couple of minutes, we looked less strong.

Hemmings grew into the game and got better as the game went on, coming very close to scoring on several occasions. He's not a dissimilar player to Thomas in that he uses body strength for ball retention, but I would say he has more pace to compensate for a little less height.

Taylor had another excellent game and it was clear that the side missed him when he went off for stitches to a head wound. The team played keep ball in safe areas until he was ready to come back on.

MApp changed how the midfield played for this game ever so slightly, with Lundstram staying back more and spraying his passes from deeper positions, whilst giving Sercombe much more freedom going forward. This change worked very well indeed, adding strength to our back line and creativity and pace to our forward play. Sercombe was back to his absolute best and God only knows how many miles he ran at pace. He did a fair share of defensive work, but supported the front line excellently. Not to mention his very well taken goal that won the match.

The back line looked very solid indeed. Long had another excellent game and on this showing, we are not missing Ribeiro. Skarz was self assured as always (best left back at the club for many years) and there were no problems with either centre back either, Martin slotting in seamlessly and barely putting a foot wrong all night, whilst Nelson looks to be a big improvement on Mullins.

Onto "Smon Eastwood baby". We've picked a gem here. He made several very good saves. His positioning was near perfect and he dominated his area knowing exactly when to come and when to stay.

That leaves Maguire and Macca. Both had sensational games running rings around Birmingham with so much class and close control. Their passing and movement was arguably Premiership class, and they ran themselves completely ragged. I give my MoM to Maguire by the narrowest of margins, though both Macca and Sercombe had very strong claims.

On to the subs, and I've mentioned Hemmings already, Crowley looked more at ease in this game again with several mazy runs as is his trademark. If I had any constructive criticism to make, he needs to learn to be slightly stronger in the tackle and holding onto the ball when challenged. But his was another improved performance. Tyler Roberts came on toward the end of extra time and provided another pacey outlet just when we needed it.

The ref was pretty good for most of the match, although as the game wore on he fell for some unnecessary diving and gave Birmingham several free kicks that they did not deserve.

Great tactics from MApp, in whom we trust.

Another new ground chalked off for me and a great night out with the superb Oxford following that just did not stop singing all night. I even found my voice for the singing and ended up almost losing it again in the process. A great great night in the League Cup for OUFC. Please let the draw be kind to us this evening.

Kairdiff Exile
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Re: Alright skip?

Post by Kairdiff Exile » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:55 pm

Rather than have two threads on the same thing, here's what I'd posted separately about the same game:

I thought last night was great fun - even if it took 119.5 minutes to get a goal!

Not the best game we'll ever see, but a decent away crowd, a decent ground to visit and a decent performance. We're not going to be world-beaters, and I have big concerns over our ability to create and score goals - but there's the spine of a good team there. Eastwood is a very competent 'keeper, Sercombe and Lundstram know each other's game and play well together (although they do leave space in front of the defence on a frighteningly regular basis), and Hemmings looks like a decent find. Lots of caveats there, and the depth of the squad is an obvious and pressing concern - but my abiding impression from yesterday is that we'll be fine in Division 3. If Appleton can bring in a few more creative players and improve the ones he's got, we could even be top half, although that might be a bridge too far.

I was particularly impressed by Crowley when he came on, who had pace and picked out some good passes. Macdonald never stopped working (again), and Skarz was typically solid. Fine, it was a weakened Birmingham team - but the same could be said for us with our injuries!

Lots of positives, and a memorable night with that last-gasp winner.

The only area where I disagree with GY really was Maguire, who I thought had a fairly average game by his standards!
Last edited by Kairdiff Exile on Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kernow Yellow
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Re: Alright skip?

Post by Kernow Yellow » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:31 pm

We're becoming quite the cup team under Appleton aren't we? Victories over Bristol City, Brentford, Swansea and now Birmingham in the space of two years (give or take a week). Plus decent showings at West Brom and Hillsborough thrown in for good measure. Nights like that go a long way to cementing the already growing bond between team and fans. Long may it continue.

Gutted to miss last night, but it all sounded very encouraging. I don't think I've ever seen GY so effusive about an OUFC performance!

PS for other RadOx sufferers - it really is time to put Nick Harris out to grass isn't it? I know he's an Oxford legend, and the coverage is generally very good, but his stuttering commentary, getting players' names wrong and generally misunderstanding what is going on doesn't half make for frustrating listening.

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Re: Alright skip?

Post by Hog » Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:05 pm

An excellent performance by the whole squad and it went some way to allaying my fears of a difficult season with too many changes.

Two things I'd like to mention. Is it only me or was Sercombe's goal an early contender for goal of the season? Not just the fact he found the energy for a lung bursting run to get to the far post in the 120th minute but that he actually managed to twist and get it on target. I must have watched it a dozen times or more and still can't work out how he did it!

And just before that the lovely little dink into the box by Crowley and a beautiful, instinctive finish inside the post by Hemmings. I know it was just offside but bodes well for the future especially as I was having doubts about Master C.

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