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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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09 December 2017 Venue The Kassam Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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	English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

PREVIEW Oxford United v Doncaster Rovers

A full guide to Saturday's game at Grenoble Road

8 December 2017

Oxford United welcome Doncaster Rovers in Sky Bet League 1 on Saturday.

TEAM NEWS

United welcome Xemi Fernandez back into the squad after he missed the midweek win at Gillingham through suspension. Xemi did well on his full league debut when the U's drew at Southend in their last league game and Pep Clotet must decide whether to stick with his compatriot or Ryan Ledson in the middle of the park. Ledson would make his 50th start if selected.

Wes Thomas also returns after being rested in midweek, the United top scorer likely to replace Jon Obika up front, while Gino van Kessel also returns after injury and is likely to be on the bench. Joe Rothwell is making good progress after a hamstring problem but is unlikely to be risked on Saturday, with James Henry also a doubt with a knee problem. 

Agon Mehmeti will step up to full training next week when Ivo Pekalski is due to return to light training after a knee problem that has kept him out so far this season. Sam Long and Charlie Raglan are also making good progress after long term injuries.

WEATHER WATCH

The covers were on the pitch overnight on Thursday and will stay on tonight ahead of the game. Temperatures are not expected to drop too low over night and no problems are foreseen with the game.

TICKET UPDATE

Tickets are on sale online at www.oufctickets.co.uk and from the ticket office in person and by phone (01865 337533). They are also on sale for this match from the club shop in the centre of Oxford. The shop is part of the Market Barbers in the Covered Market; easily accessible from the High Street entrance. It is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturdays, 10am to 4pm.

CLUB SHOP

The Club Shop is fully stocked for Christmas. Call in before the game to take a look or visit oufcshop.co.uk.

THE PROGRAMME

The award winning matchday programme features the thoughts of Darryl Eales, Pep Clotet and Curtis Nelson plus interviews with news skipper John Mousinho and Guest of Honour David Hunt.

We have news and views from all areas of the club and remember, you can always read the programme on your phone, tablet or laptop. Each issue is available at matchdayfix.com/oufc/

FOLLOW IT LIVE

iFollow has the whole game live- hear it if you are in the UK, see it if abroad. You can sign up game by game or for the whole season, and we have full 90 minute reruns of every game.

@OUFCOfficial will be tweeting throughout the game and the match centre on this site gives you full stats and text commentary throughout the match. 

 HALF TIME

The JT's Golden Ticket half time draw offers a first prize of up to £750. Second prize is a £100 voucher for the Oxford United club shop, while third prize is a VIP package at JT’s Cocktail Bar.

The draw will take place at half-time and prizes can be collected from the matchday reception immediately after the game or by calling 01865 337528

Look out too for the Racehut Challenge at half time.

GETTING HERE

The new car parking rules are in place once again on Saturday:

  • East Stand car park - this will open to supporters at midday
  • A car park steward will count vehicles in and the car park will be closed when it is full.
  • Another car park steward will direct drivers to a bay to ensure spaces are filled up systematically; drivers are no longer allowed to park outside of the marked bays.
  • There will be no access to the East car park from the rear of the North stand.
  • A tweet will go out from @OUFCOfficial to update supporters when the car park is full to allow them to make alternative arrangements.

Away supporters are advised to park in the west and overflow car parks as the rapid expansion crowd management system will be in operation which means there is no transfer from one end of the ground to the other behind the North Stand.

Additional parking is available on Grenoble Road and in Sandford-on Thames.

FAMILY ROOM

The Family Room is open to young fans from all stands. There are games and activities for all ages plus visits from first team players. JOin the fun in the corner of the East and North stands.

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Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 1 Doncaster Rovers 0

Ruffels rocket wins it for the U's. Full time report

9 December 2017

Oxford United won in the 96th minute today when Josh Ruffels fired home a dramatic winner against Doncaster Rovers. Three minutes beyond the supposed third minute added on, Ruffels rasped home from 25 yards to give United all three points.

The first half was a quiet affair, although United started in encouraging fashion with Thomas, Ruffels and Fernandez all having early efforts blocked from the edge of the area and full backs Dwight Tiendalli and Ricardinho spraying passes across the pitch for fun.

James Henry almost broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion with a curling 17th-minute effort from 20 yards that keeper Ian Lawlor tipped over, but the game was compressed into a tight battle for possession in midfield where space was at a premium for the whole 90 minutes. Set pieces therefore became important and Tommy Rowe headed a 33rd-minute effort straight at Simon Eastwood shortly before the dangerous John Marquis steered Doncaster’s best effort from open play straight at the keeper on 35.

Wes Thomas had penalty appeals waved away when he was blatantly pushed in the back just as he prepared to shoot after 37 minutes. Ref Sebastian Stockbridge decided to step into Christmas a little early by distributing his cards to Tiendalli and Mousinho, much to the displeasure of the frozen home fans, but the first half had been more about attrition than inspiration.

The sides exchanged tempting crosses in the first few minutes of the second half - Ricardinho's just a little too fierce for Thomas to deal with the the near post and Marquis's a yard ahead of two advancing teammates - before United had a huge let off. Rowe wriggled past two challenges and then retrieved a loose ball to create the space to curl a shot goalwards. The ball beat Eastwood, hit the right hand post and rolled along the goal line before sneaking away. Definitely not over the line but mighty close.

Eastwood then made another good save to push another Rowe effort away but United were just as likely to nick the first goal and were unlucky when a 70th-minute cross from Ricardinho struck Thomas but flew wide.

On 77 they had the ideal chance to break the stalemate. Mike Williamson started it with a great interception and then carried the ball to half way before handing responsibility to the forwards. Fernandez had joined in and when it was played to him flicked the ball back for Payne who skipped past Andy Butler and was tripped right on the edge of the box. Mr Stockbridge ruled it was inside the box but the decision became immaterial when Lawlor fell to his left to comfortably save Payne's penalty kick.

To their credit, neither side settled for a point and the game went end to end for the last ten minutes. United built up a head of steam, Payne seeing an 85th-minute effort deflected away and sub Jon Obika leading the charge as the U's tried to find a dramatic late winner.

It just wouldn't quite happen but then Ruffels strode on to a loose ball and let fly for a magnificent winner. The irony of winning in Fergie time will not have been lost on the opposition manager...

Att: 6,711

Away: 462

Report by Chris Williams, pictures by Steve Daniels Stats by OPTA

See the whole game or extended highlights in iFollow

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