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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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02 February 2019 Venue Pirelli Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: OXFORD UNITED

2 February 2019

TEN-man Albion had to grind out a share of the spoils against Oxford United battling to a goalless draw after playing 78 minutes a man light after John Brayford's early red card

It was uphill for the Brewers from there against a side who had not won on the road in the league this season but they stuck to their task to deny the visitors many clear cut chances and this could prove to be a valuable point in the circumstances.

Brad Collins made three excellent dsaves to preserve a point, none more important that a diving effort to push Curtis Nelson's goalbound header away from goal in the dying seconds.

Albion showed two changes to the side that were pegged back by Bradford last time out at the Pirelli. Kyle McFadzean and David Templeton both returned to the side with Jake Buxton and Reece Hutchinson dropping to the bench for the visit of former skipper John Mousinho's Oxford side.

And after winning the toss and making Albion kick towards their own fans in the first half it was Oxford who almost grabbed an instant reward as James Henry, leading scorer for the U's forced Brad Collins to extend himself to his right to push away an angled drive from just inside the box. There was also danger when deadline day signing Jerome Sinclair got clear down the right but attempting to cross from the bye line got his feet all wrong missing the ball. At least his manager saw the funny side from the dugout.

With Albion taking time to settle Oxford continued to press forwards and Josh Ruffels spotted an opportunity to test Collins from distance, the young Chelsea loanee holding onto the long range shot that threatened to bounce awkwardly in front of him.

And a sluggish start from the Brewers got worse for Albion on eleven minutes when they were reduced to ten men following a red card for Brayford. A ball over the top allowed Sinclair in behind the defence with Brayford pulling him back as he was about to burst into the box. Referee Brett Huxtable had no hesitation in ending Brayford's afternoon.

Buxton was immediately summonsed from the bench with Jamie Allen sacrificed to allow the Brewers defence to get back up to full numbers. Sinclair quickly had another chance to endear himself to the U's fans but having run onto Gavin Whyte's astute pass the striker blazed over from fifteen yards.

Jordan Graham was finding plenty of opportunities to try and exploit situations on the Oxford left and his low ball into the box on 24 minutes picked out Rob Dickie six yards out, the big defender contriving to poke his shot over the bar amidst a ruck of bodies inside the box. And it was Graham who wasted another good chance for the visitors when a corner made its way all the way through the box to find him unmarked, fifteen yards out but undable to keep his shot down.

Oxford continued to spread the ball around neatly in midfield and another teasing cross from Graham on 35 minutes bounced just too high for Henry to make meaningful contact twelve yards out.

Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 Oxford United

Oxford went more attacking after the break bringing on ther experienced Jamie Mackie to boost the attack in place of Mousinho who made way having been booked shortly before half time. There was also a yellow card for Templeton in the early stages of the second period as he went down too easily, in the opinion of the referee trying to get round Jamie Hanson at right back.

Mackie almost broke the deadlock on 52 minutes making an astute run into the box to latch onto a through ball with Collins spreading himself well to divert his first time effort wide.

Graham continued to offer the greatest threat for the visitors but the final ball was just not finding visitors attackers none more so than when a booming left foot cross bounced dangerously in the box and curled wide.

With Albion struggling for creativity Clough turned to Marcus Harness on 68 minutes with Templeton making his way off. The young winger almost paid immediate dividends as Hanson dwelt on the ball on the edge of the area and the substitute almost nicked the ball off him at the second attempt.

Boyce led a charge out from midfield on 72 minutes which resulted in a rare attempt on Simon Eastwood's goal, an angled effort from the edge of the box that the keeper was able to watch flash wide.

And Albion's leading scorer was in the thick of it again chasing down a back pass from Dickie on 76 minutes and picking up a yellow card for his challenge on Eastwood which seemed like a genuine attempt to win the loose ball.

Collins had to perform acrobatics to deny Ruffels from close range as Oxford cranked up the pressure again. Ruffels knew little about the chance as a cross went goalwards off him but the reactions of the Burton keeper kept it level.

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