United’s strong half leaves the Brewers dizzy

From the Rage Online newsdesk Sunday, September 8th, 2013  

Report written by Jack Shoemark

Oxford maintained their 100% away record and unbeaten run with a hard fought victory against Burton at the Pirelli Stadium. Second half goals from Alfie Potter and Danny Rose saw the U’s take all three points from a fiery game that surprisingly only saw on red card.

Chris Wilder’s men created a few half chances in the opening stages, Rose saw a curling (not carling) effort go wide, Andy Whing failed to latch onto a free kick despite doing his to perform a mid-air plank and Asa Hall fired wide after a clever flick from James Constable. The home side had barely ventured out of their own half but arguably had the best chance of the first 20 minutes. Veteran Rory Delap launched his trademark long thrown into the United area where it was flicked on to Chris Hussey who found himself in acres of space, he kindly took pity on those who had left him well alone and blazed over the bar.

To be fair to the Oxford back four they had dealt with the physical presence of Rene Howe and the movement of Michael Symes and Adam McGurk very well, the ever reliant combo of Jake Wright and Jonny Mullins were the first to most balls whilst Ryan Clarke mopped up everything else with great authority. It was clear that the home side had highlighted Potter as the main threat and in their attempts to nullify this forced United into a very narrow game with Asa Hall playing more as a third central midfielder rather than on the left hand side. Andy Whing was having his usual game, throwing his body on the line and blocking with legs, knees and his face – one such diving block drew hopeful penalty appeals from the home fans but the referee waved play on. They were further exasperated in the 33rd minute when following a challenge for a high ball, Ian Sharps and Dave Kitson came to a disagreement about the best way to create the ice cold refreshment of a Coors Light which resulted in Sharps kicking Kitson (in a non-violent way according to his manager) and Kitson pushing Sharps in response. The referee saw fit to send Sharps for an early bath and just book Kitson. Good call…

United needed to take advantage of the extra man and it was only minutes into the second half that they did. Alfie Potter picked up the ball midway inside the Burton half and simply followed the tracks he laid two seasons ago, after turning three defenders inside out, the pint-sized winger fire a low shot past Dean Lyness via a deflection to score a carbon copy of his goal from the 11/12 season. Moments later, it was almost two, as Tom Newey saw his powerful shot from 25 yards wonderfully tipped away by Lyness.

At 1-0, the game was never safe and the yellows in Purple rather sat back and played some, at times, good passing football, however, on other occasions they did their best to give the travelling fans behind the goal a fright with Rose twice conceding possession on the halfway line to set up a Burton charge. Thankfully, Mullins and Wright were alive to all possibilities and ensured the home side didn’t get a sniff. In fact, United’s biggest scare came as Constable seemed to pull up after chasing a long ball and had to be helped from the field by physio Andy Lord. Kitson was allowed to receive the gratitude of the home fans as he was replaced by Ryan Williams and it was the young Aussie who led the breakaway which led to the U’s second goal. Receiving the ball inside his own half, he drew two defenders before accelerating past them both with a deadly turn of pace, he had time to look up and pick out a cross for Rose to bundle the ball in after a touch from Delap and the post. 2-0 meant game over and the closing stages flitted away with no alarm. The final whistle sounded moments later and the U’s had completed their third straight away win.

Wilder named an unchanged side from the team that drew with Rochdale. Deane Smalley returned to the bench after a two game absence alongside side unused subs Crocombe, Raynes, Ruffels and Davies. In addition to Smalley and Williams entering the field, Ty Marsh replaced Potter late on.

The referee was Michael Bull from Essex who last refereed an Oxford game in August 2008 at Ebbsfleet. He showed yellow cards to David Hunt for tripping McGurk, Marcus Holness for being nasty and Rene Howe for his one hundredth foul of the game. Howe could have followed Sharps down the tunnel after two more late challenges but Bull rather bottled it, however, his decision to allow Kitson to stay on the pitch was undoubtedly the major talking point. The crowd at the Pirelli was 3416 with somewhere between 600 and 1000 of the yellow army present depending on who you ask.

The U’s remain second, two points behind leaders Chesterfield who beat Accrington. Burton drop to sixth after wins for AFC Wimbledon and Fleetwood whilst Exeter picked up a point away at Dagenham. Accrington and Hartlepool remain winless and occupy the bottom two whilst York and Northampton continue to struggle. Cheltenham, who are next up for United, twice came from behind to draw with Portsmouth.

The trip to Whaddon Road is next week and the Yellow Army will march on hoping to witness another three points.

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 8th, 2013 at 7:13 pm and appears under 2013, Match Report. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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