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Fleetwood Pilley-ed

Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2023 9:43 am
by Isaac
It was the first Oxford game for my 3 children so I had to tell them, repeatedly, that it wasn't usually as warm, straightforward or with such spectacular goals. They're all keen to go again, so job done in more than one way.

I didn't actually think we played that well, particularly at the start. Somewhat slow and lethargic on the ball and defensively a bit error prone (mostly Thorniley, due probably to lack of match practice). Fleetwood just stood off, even when 2 and 3-0 down and looked exactly like a team who've lost all bar one league game this season. They only really went for it in the first 10 minutes of each half. The last 15 minutes felt like a pre-season friendly with no nerves, little happening on the pitch and warm sunshine. Given Fleetwood have very few fans and an owner in prison for fraud then it's possible they'll drop through the leagues quickly. Although there was a lot of support for the owner - more so than for the team. Songs, banners and a plane message fly-by.

It was good to see Branagan pop up in more attacking positions, on the wing a couple of times and generally our front 4 swapped around quite a lot (rotation, I think they call it). Rodrigues is an interest player, really not quick but works very hard. Barely anything he tried with the ball came off but the ambition to try and keep trying is encouraging.

Given we were missing our 1st and 2nd choice strikers, left winger (although so far Edwards looks an upgrade on Browne) and our left back might not have been fit it's a very encouraging result. I was thinking back to last season at Fleetwood (a very lucky 2-1 win) where we had Wildschutt/Murphy on the wings achieving very little and the difference in terms of squad depth/quality is huge.

Re: Fleetwood Pilley-ed

Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2023 3:08 pm
by slappy
Good to read a first hand report. I ended up following the game on X (Twitter) where an Oxford fan uploaded each of the goals.
So did the goals and scoreline flatter us if you say we didn't start that well?
Obviously it's difficult to judge based on just the goals, but it seems a fundamental change from an approach of trying to pass/walk the ball into the net, to three goals all banged in from well outside the six yard box.
The Sky highlights showed the whole build up to the Edwards goal rather than just him picking up the ball, so a good team goal.
With the club now up for sale and with no fraudulent benefactor bank-rolling the club, Fleetwood are one of my favourites for relegation.
Sadly I think it will be a revert to the mean situation, where a small town club five km outside of Blackpool are never going to get large enough crowds to sustain league 1 football, and probably not league 2 either.

Re: Fleetwood Pilley-ed

Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2023 9:42 am
by Isaac
We deserved the win, 3-0 was probably about right, but we've played a lot better this season in games I've watched on ifollow - Derby, Barnsley the obvious examples but also first half against Charlton. If we'd played like that it might have been 6-0. Fleetwood were bad.

We probably didn't pass the ball quickly enough to get Edwards/Mills in the game often enough. We were 1 up after 15 minutes so we didn't exactly need to go after them so this very mild criticism is obviously unfair! Encouraging that there's significant improvement, even though we won comfortably.