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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: OXFORD UNITED (H)

11 February 2020

ALBION had to settle for a share of the spoils for the second home game running as Matty Taylor's stoppage time equaliser denied them all three points in an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Pirelli

The Brewers led twice through a deflected Lucas Akins strike early on before Jamie Murphy's fine strike had them back in front after substitute Dan Agyei had equaliser within a minute of coming on.

But it was not to be for Albion who had chances to clear the danger late on but were punished when Rob Dickie's driven effort into the box was turned home by Taylor inside the six-yard area to rescue a point for Karl Robinson's men.

Albion showed five changes to the line-up that took a point from Saturdays draw with Gillingham. With Oliver Sarkic serving his one match ban after seeing red against the Gills. Nathan Broadhead returned to the side for the first time in almost a month as his replacement. Both Stephen Quinn and Colin Daniel missed out on the squad altogether with niggles picked up in the weekend's game and John-Joe O'Toole also had a niggling injury but made the bench. In came Kieran Wallace for his first start since December and Reece Hutchinson at left back whilst Scott Fraser returned to the midfield in place of Joe Powell who had to settle for a place amongst the substitutes. Richard Nartey also returned to partner Conor Shaughnessy at the back.

Jamie Murphy managed the first attempt on goal inside two minutes, a driven John Brayford cross headed down and goalwards but causing Simon Eastwood in the Oxford goal no real issues at the far post.

Oxford could claim a good chance themselves on nine minutes when the second of two quick corners for the visitors was whipped into the box by Liam Kelly and the visitors were left to wonder how nobody managed to get a finishing touch to prod it home.

Ryan Edwards showed plenty of energy to snap up a loose clearance from former Brewers skipper John Mousinho to stride forward and send a dipping shot just over Eastwood's bar. Oxford responded with a swift break down their right and a whipped in cross was met by Nathan Holland arriving in the box but he was unable to steer a first time effort on goal to test Kieran O'Hara.

Albion began to ask questions of the Oxford defence again on 18 minutes with Brayford twice seeing efforts inside the box blocked before James Henry managed to hack the ball clear after a sustained spell of pressure in and around the United box.

Oxford were forced into a change with Liam Kelly replaced by Alex Gorrin and within a minute Albion were in front as the visitors reorganised. Edwards raced away after Broadhead had won possession back high up the pitch and his low cross allowed AKINS to divert the ball beyond a wrong-footed Eastwood thanks to a kindly deflection off defender Rob Dickie.

The visitors, to their credit, kept trying to play some neat passing football to try and open up the Brewers in search of an equaliser but they struggled to create anything to seriously put O'Hara's goal under threat.

Gorrin picked up a yellow card after Edwards nicked the ball off him and the Spaniard tripped him to stop him in his tracks. Broadhead was unable to do anything meaningful with the resulting 25 yard free kick to further punish the U's.

United almost got a slice of luck when a shot was blocked and fell nicely to Holland, his side foot effort kicked away by O'Hara just when it looked to be heading for the bottom corner of his net.

Oxford thought they had shouts for a penalty on the stroke of half time but referee Stephen Martin adjudged Matty Taylor to have dived and produced a yellow card for the frontman.

Half time: Burton Albion 1-0 Oxford United

Oxford were quickly going in search of the equaliser upon the restart and James Henry flashed a long range effort wide of the target four minutes in with O'Hara at full stretch to watch it go outside the post.

It was the start of a sustained period of pressure from the visitors who started to pass the ball around with increasing confidence as Albion struggled to find any meaningful spells of possession to relieve the pressure.

Oxford made a change to introduce striker AGYEI and it paid quick dividends with the former Burnley man racing through to drill a low shot that O'Hara got something on but could not prevent from bouncing in.

Broadhead last until just past the hour mark before giving way to Joe Sbarra who slotted in on the right hand side as a direct replacement.

Albion had just sent on Joe Powell for the unusually quiet Scott Fraser and it was not long before Albion had retaken the lead. Powell may not have had a direct involvement but Albion's two other January signings certainly did. A raking ball out from the back from Shaughnessy picked out MURPHY who showed superb control before driving into the box and firing low inside Eastwood's near post.

Albion looked set fgor a first win in five games until TAYLOR showed all of his predatory instincts to turn the ball home at the death.


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