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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: OXFORD UNITED (AWAY)

20 August 2019

SCOTT Fraser blasted home a stunning second half hat-trick to fire Albion to a stunning 4-2 victory over Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium.

A thoroughly entertaining early season six-goal thriller was the perfect tonic for Albion after the disappointment of Saturday's home defeat to Rotherham and they showed again in patches that when they play their flowing football that not many sides at League One level can match them.

After a sedate start to the game that rarest of things, a Jake Buxton goal, got Albion up and running on the half hour mark, the skipper stooping at the near post to head home Fraser's corner beyond a flailing Simon Eastwood in the United goal.

Although Oxford levelled early in the second half and, indeed turned the game around, within ten minutes of the restart, they had no answer to three rasping efforts from Albion's Scottish midfielder who led the Brewers to a thoroughly deserved victory over Karl Robinson's side.

Nigel Clough was forced into one change for the trip to the Kassam. John-Joe O'Toole, so impressive at centre half in recent games, was missing with a thigh strain - his place in the side going to Kieran Wallace who dropped in as a straight replacement. That also meant a place on the bench for Jevan Anderson.

Albion's start was a positive one with the first shot on target coming from Nathan Broadhead after just four minutes. The Brewers worked the chance well from Colin Daniel's throw in on the left but the angle was always against the young Welshman who saw his effort saved by Eastwood.

And the Everton loanee was involved again on nine minutes sending in a corner that Liam Boyce just failed to get over, steering a header off target at the back post.

Boyce really should have put Albion ahead after a quarter of an hour. A superb counter-attack was instigated by the striker when he controlled a clearance out of the Brewers penalty area and instantly set Akins away down the right. The popular Brewers front man outpaced former skipper John Mousinho to get into the box and fed the ball back to Boyce but the striker, on the turn dragged his effort wide of the post.

Oxford had plenty of possession without making anything out of it and it was the Brewers who hit the front just before the half hour. A Broadhead corner was cleared out onto the opposite side after a fine save by Eastwood to deny John Brayford before Fraser swung in a left footer that BUXTON sweetly steered home after making a superb run beyond the near post.

The home side almost replied immediately as new signing Matty Taylor was played through but Kieran O'Hara came to the rescue with a sprawling save to deny the Bristol Cty loanee. Alex Gorrin also went close to an equaliser with a header that slid wide of the target.

As half time approached it was Oxford cranking up the pressure in search of the equaliser and Taylor was inches away from connecting with a superb left wing cross before O'Hara did well to get across and claw away a testing cross to his back post. All of the pushing from the home side was to no avail as Albion held on to their lead to the break.

Half time: Oxford United 0-1 Burton Albion

The home side needed just two minutes after the break to get themselves back on level terms and it was a well worked effort. Taylor managed to stay onside to pick up a raking angled crossfield pass and he was quickly supported by Liverpool loanee Ben Woodburn on his outside. The striker's cross picked out former Liverpool midfielder BRANNAGAN who guided a first time effort back across goal and inside the post.

And the hosts were ahead on 55 minutes as Oxford launched the ball forwards again and this time Anthony FORDE managed to just about stay onside to run through and slot past O'Hara.

But this game was far from over and the Brewers were level again on the hour mark. Albion pushed forwards without too much challenge and when Daniel was allowed to get to the bye line to send in a cross. Eastwood could not get much purchase on a clearance and when Broadhead's attempted shot was blocked out as far as FRASER he lashed the ball into the net. 2-2 and very much game on.

Albion made the first change of the game on 64 minutes with Oliver Sarkic sent on in place of Broadhead and the young former Leeds man was soon stretching the Oxford defence with some probing runs down the left.

Whilst the Brewers may not be getting the rub of the green at home this season they got a little bit of lady luck helping them as they grabbed the lead back again with twenty minutes to go. FRASER was allowed to venture forward unchecked again and this time his shot took a vital deflection to deceive Eastwood at his near post and go in.

Oxford's response was a double change with Jamie Mackie and Tariqe Fosu thrown on to try and put the hosts back in control but Albion squandered a superb chance to stretch their lead even further just inside the final quarter of an hour after a mesmerising run from Fraser took him from deep in his own half into the final third before setting up Sarkic, the youngster making room for the shot only to fire over.

Boyce then planted a header against the post from a deep slung free kick to the back post and Akins could possibly have gone down inside the box after a nudge in the back but stayed on his feet as he tried to make room for a shot.

Albion introduced Richard Nartey for his senior debut with ten to play as Edwards was replaced allowing Wallace to move forward into a midfield role to try and close up the centre of the pitch where Oxford were pushing hardest for a breakthrough.

The introduction of winger Rob Hall breathed new life into the Oxford attack but it was Boyce going closest next after teasing his way in to the box and making Eastwood save low at his near post.

FRASER completed his hat-trick in fine style on 83 minutes getting to the edge of the box to pick up on Boyce's lay-off and curling a superb, precisely placed shot beyond Eastwood and in off the inside of the post.

Akins could have added a fifth but fired straight at Eastwood as more gaps appeared with the home desperately pouring forwards.

Fraser rightly earned himself a rest and rousing ovation from the Burton fans on the far side of the ground as Joe Sbarra was introduced for the closing minutes.

Both Boyce and Sarkic saw efforts blocked inside the Oxford box inside the five minutes of time added on by referee Brett Huxtable before the curtain came down on another barnstorming Brewers away day.


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