Oxford United: Seeing red

Jonny Leighfield joins a growing list of TheWashbag.com writers who have reported on an Oxford United victory over Swindon Town…

The last time Swindon were victorious over that club down the A420, Wikipedia was born, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone came out in cinemas and Tony Blair’s Labour Party won their second consecutive General Election.

So, if you feel like the next 10 to 15 minutes of your life might be wasted, take solace from the fact that you might have at least learnt something.

Swindon made two changes from the draw away at Peterborough. Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Luke Norris came in for James Brophy and Nathan Delfouneso. Luke Williams felt that Raphael Rossi-Branco, Yaser Kasim and Jon Obika were not match-fit just yet so he opted to start all three on the bench.

It was a nervous start from Swindon as they tried to put their passing game to good use but Oxford pressed high and the Town defence looked shaky early on. Too many intricate passes to team-mates were going astray and needless pressure was being conceded.

The match opened up after a quarter of an hour with both sides counter-attacking at will, although neither team could muster up the quality in the final third to mount a serious threat.

Oxford created a few clear-cut opportunities midway through the first-half, intersected only by Norris’ tame header wide, but Lawrence Vigouroux was equal to them all and the score remained 0-0.

Yet, minutes before half-time, the hosts were awarded a penalty after Nathan Thompson hung a leg out and Liam Sercombe somewhat theatrically fell over it on the edge of the box. Referee Stuart Atwell initially awarded a free-kick to the U’s but after consulting his assistant, pointed to the spot.

It’s said that these things even themselves out over the course of a season. Well let’s hope so because the decision from the linesman to over-rule the referee was dubious to say the least.

Chris Maguire placed the penalty in the top left-hand corner of Vigouroux’s goal before rather immaturely running over to the Swindon fans and pointing at the back of his shirt.

To quote the film GOAL! “The name on the badge is more important than the one on the back.”

Although, in your case Chris, that’s not really true either.

Neither is important.

As the clock hit ’45, Swindon should have had a penalty of their own after Johnny Goddard appeared to have been shoved over in the U’s box. The referee waved play on and on-loan defender Lloyd Jones picked up a yellow for his over-zealous protest.

The second-half started much more brightly for Swindon, and Goddard had a superb chance to score Town’s first goal at the three-sided Kassam but Oxford ‘keeper Simon Eastwood spread himself to block the shot.

54 minutes later than I would have liked, Anton Rodgers was taken off and Yaser Kasim was brought on to regain some control on the match. Jon Obika also came on for Goddard to make Town’s line up look far stronger than what had started.

However, just minutes later, the home side had doubled their lead after a lesson in closing down from Maguire. BOO’s pass back to Vigouroux was too casual and the Town stopper had no choice but to try and stick his foot through it. Unfortunately, Maguire read the pass, leapt in front of the clearance and the ball ricocheted off his foot and into the net.

Things then went from bad to worse for Swindon as the impressive Jones received a second yellow card for a mistimed tackle, and Town had to play the remaining minutes with 10 men.

Darnell Furlong had Town’s best chance to grab a consolation goal when the ball dropped to him 8-yards out, but the QPR-loanee could only place his effort over when it seemed easier to score.

The remaining 15 minutes threatened to fizzle out with not much more than a whimper, until an extremely dangerous lunge from Oxford’s Alex Macdonald on Vigouroux caused the Town stopper to lose his head and throw a punch in the direction of Macdonald. A melee of players swarmed towards the two players and Vigouroux was consequently dismissed, meaning Brad Barry donned the gloves for the last few seconds. Bizarrely the Oxford striker remained on the pitch, despite lunging in on Vigouroux’s head chasing a lost cause.

Still, even if it takes another 15 years for Swindon to beat Oxford, at least we’re safe in the knowledge that Tony Blair won’t come back in to power in that time…

(N.B – I don’t have any affiliation to a political party. It’s just a joke. Please enjoy satire before it’s gone forever. Thanks for reading.)

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