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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

02 April 2021 Venue Stadium of Light Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

PREVIEW Sunderland v Oxford United

A full guide to Good Friday's game at the Stadium of Light

1 April 2021

Oxford United travel to Sunderland on Good Friday (3pm) looking to build on a win against Lincoln City last time out which put them within touching distance of the play-off places.

The U's welcomed back James Henry for the Lincoln game and the influential midfielder is likely to continue while Elliot Lee returns to the squad after a knee problem.

Sam Long has returned to training but Karl Robinson faces a choice of whether he is involved on Friday or on Monday when the U's play Accrington Stanley at home with the defender unlikely to be risked in both games.

There have been one or two minor illnesses in the camp but all covid tests have come back negative. Centre-half Luke McNally, impressive in defence and also scorer of two goals for the U21s in a 4-1 win over Luton on Tuesday travels with the squad.

Hear Karl's thoughts in iFollow right now along with chats with Cameron Brannagan and Luke McNally, where you can also see the whole game live.

You can stream the game HERE

A win against Bristol Rovers last time out made it eleven league games unbeaten for Lee Johnson's side, with a win in the final of the Papa John's Trophy in the middle of that run.

The Black Cats seem to be in a three way chase for the two automatic promotion places with Hull City and Peterborough and play the Posh away on Easter Monday.

Good luck to the Oxford United Women who take on Cardiff in the Women's FA Cup on Sunday. See an interview with boss Liam Gilbert in iFollow or on the official YouTube channel

As well as live coverage on iFollow, complete with commentary from the BBC Oxford Sport team we have all the build up on twitter and on our official Insta page, complete with behind the scenes exclusive content, plus a full report and Gallery right here on the final whistle and reaction from all the key men in iFollow.

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Match Reports

REPORT Sunderland 3 Oxford United 1

Ten man U's lose at Sunderland. Full time report

2 April 2021

Oxford United were shown two red cards and beaten 3-1 at Sunderland this afternoon. Having led through a superb goal from James Henry, the U's were pegged back by a Lynden Gooch goal in first-half injury time. A red card for Mark Sykes and a goal from Aiden McGeady were followed by boss Karl Robinson being sent to the stands, and a clinical third goal from Max Power to complete a frustrating afternoon for the U's.

United, in a yellow-white-white combination and without the injured Josh Ruffels from the side that beat Lincoln in the previous game, got little change out of a well-drilled Sunderland defence in the first 20 minutes but were tight and well-organised themselves, with both sides wary of giving each other room to create from open play.

The first time the game truly opened up was the moment the game changed and United took the lead. Brandon Barker did the leg work, carrying the ball from the centre circle and attracting covering defenders to him before timing his pass perfectly for Henry in space on the right. Keeper Lee Burge set himself but Henry’s drive was immaculate, curling and flashing past the keeper and nestling just inside the far post for a splendidly taken opener.

020421 sunderland (7).jpg

The Black Cats retaliated but didn’t truly test Jack Stevens until the last minutes of the half, first when McGeady’s free kick was pushed away by the United keeper and then when they levelled in injury time.

Jordan Jones created the goal, flicking his way past stand-in left-back Jamie Hanson before delivering a low cross which Gooch tapped home with the last meaningful touch of an entralling first half.

Barker was spreading panic every time he got the ball and United continued to look the more likely team to score as the second half picked up speed. Anthony Forde sliced wide and United were pressing, but then a challenge at either end changed the tone of the game.

The first came from Hanson when he timed a slide to perfection to rob Wyke just as he prepared to shoot. The ball was swiftly transferred to the other end and Shodipo crossed dangerously into the six-yard box. Sykes threw himself into a challenge but caught his man and was shown a second yellow card, with the inevitable red quickly raised above ref Trevor Kettle's head and Sykes trudging off disconsolately.

A man light but still prepared to go forward, Shodipo had a shot blocked and Moore tested Burge's handling with a header from the corner before the in-form home side started to apply the pressure. Jones rattled the crossbar on 68 with Stevens beaten, then curled a free kick over the top two minutes later as United began to concede ground.

Tired legs were replaced with Liam Kelly, Elliot Lee and Dan Agyei thrown on after 75 minutes, but controversy soon followed when a challenge on the edge of the box saw Brannagan baulked and knocked over.

Ref Kettle saw it as a free kick for the home side and that was taken immediately, with Brannagan still on the ground. Gooch dribbled into the box, the ball went to McGeady and his smart finish made it 2-1. Robinson, incensed, was sent from the dug out before play restarted, protesting both his innocence and the injustice of a free kick he felt should have gone his side's way.

United still battled away and tried to get something out of the game, but Sunderland knew just a little too much and in injury time Chris Maguire rolled the ball across and Power planted the ball past Stevens to end any doubt.

A terrific effort but the U's now have to regroup with another big game, at home to Accrington Stanley, on Monday.

Report Chris Williams, pictures Darrell Fisher, stats by OPTA


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