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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

2-3
18 December 2021 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 Wigan Athletic

A full guide to Saturday's Sky Bet League 1 game at the Kassam Stadium

17 December 2021

Sponsored by

Oxford United welcome Wigan Athletic to the Kassam Stadium on Saturday in Sky Bet League 1 (3pm)

The U's are without the suspended Jordan Thorniley after his dismissal in injury time during the win at MK Dons last Saturday.

The centre-half misses one game but the U's have cover in that area where Luke McNally was outstanding before Thorniley returned to the side, Sam Long performed admirably, John Mousinho did well in a friendly against Brentford in midweek and youngster James Golding also impressed in that game.

Jack Stevens made his return in the first 45 minutes on Tuesday but is unlikely to be risked as he continues his recovery from glandular fever. Kie Plumley is more likely to continue on the bench having celebrated signing his first pro deal this week.

Sam Winnall returned to the squad at MK after injury and is likely to feature again.

See Karl and Simon Eastwood previewing the game in iFollow.

THE OPPOSITION
Wigan captain Tendayi Darikwa echoed Karl Robinson’s pre match thoughts in urging fans coming along to look after each other tomorrow.

“We’ve all got families at home, and it’s important to keep doing the right things to limit the number of cases,” he said. “As players, we acknowledge the privileged position we’re in, we’re very fortunate to be role models for so many people. We’ll just keep doing our best – on and off the pitch – to do what we can to help the situation.

“The safety of the players, the staff and the fans has to be of paramount importance".

Wigan are unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions with their last defeat coming at home against Lincoln in October.

Striker Charlie Wyke is the noticeable absentee while Jordan Cousins is a doubt. Striker Will Keane has netted nine goals so far while winger Callum Lang has scored 11.

The U’s have lost just once at home this season but Wigan lead the table on the road with 22 points on their travels so far.


TICKETS
Tickets are available from oufctickets.co.uk where you can print at home or download to your phone or you can call 01865 337533
 
If you are attending then please read the Fan Protocols above.
 
HALF SEASON TICKETS
A half season ticket means great savings on matchday prices and makes the ideal Christmas gift for any Oxford fans. You can buy them at the Ticket Office on Saturday: click HERE for all the details
 
PARKING
There are around 2,000 free parking spaces at the stadium but we ask everyone to arrive early and park legally. Away fans - Please park in the West car park - the one closest to the cinema and bowling complex at the fence end of the ground.
 
VISITING FANS
Click here for a full away fan guide: 2021 away guide.pdf
 
GETTING HERE
The Football Special bus services are running as normal and offer easy and affordable transport to home games. CLICK HERE for a full guide to public transport to the game.
 
 
FAMILY
Click here for a full guide to bringing your family to the Kassam Stadium: 2021 family guide.pdf
 
COVERAGE
You can hear the whole game in iFollow in the UK and see it overseas, with interviews with all the key men after the game.
 
You can also follow the whole game on twitter through @OUFCOfficial or on our Instagram page and we will have a full match report and Gallery right here on the final whistle.

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Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 2 Wigan Athletic 3

U's lose a Christmas Cracker. Full time report

18 December 2021

Sponsored by

Oxford United and Wigan Athletic produced a real Christmas cracker at the Kassam Stadium in one of the best games of football of an entire incident-packed season.

United threw everything at their high-flying visitors, coming back from two goals down in a game in which their preparations had once again been severely disrupted, but were finally sunk when James McClean won it for Wigan with a goal five minutes from the end of an action-packed 90 minutes.

Through Covid tests, injury or illness, including James Henry who tweaked a calf muscle in the warm up, United were missing an eleven who would more than hold their own at this level: Stevens, Hanson, McNally, Thorniley, Holland, Gorrin, Brannagan, Kane, Henry, Winnall, Cooper.

How do you cope against a side in great form like Wigan when that happens? It would seem that whatever is thrown at Karl Robinson's team they just smile and face it head on, although they needed all of their resilience after Will Keane put the visitors into the lead after just seven minutes when he nodded into the roof of the net after a Max Power corner had been headed back at the far post.

wigan-goal.jpg

United had to dig deep just to stay in the game, surviving a couple of close shaves, but somehow they adjusted and started to push Wigan back. Anthony Forde shone at right back, Marcus McGuane showed discipline in a holding role behind Billy Bodin, and Mark Sykes, Gavin Whyte and Williams worked tirelessly alongside Matty Taylor up front.

Indeed, Taylor should have levelled after 20 minutes when Whyte squared the ball only for United’s top scorer to hit the bar from ten yards out.

power-goal.jpg

That proved costly after 31 minutes as Wigan temporarily dampened United’s enthusiasm with a second goal that should by rights have killed the game. Steve Seddon looked to have cleared a deep cross far enough, but Power, Oxford fans’ version of David Warner, was onto it in a flash and thumped the ball on the half volley beyond the dive of the helpless Simon Eastwood.

Surely United couldn’t come back from there? Well, clearly nobody told them because from the very next attack Whyte stormed into the box at the end of a tremendous move and Williams strode on to the ball and sent it beyond keeper Ben Amos to bring his side right back into contention at the break.

181221 wigan 1st (15).jpg

The fans were right behind their beleaguered team and urged them forward towards the fence end in the second half. United responded. On the hour they were level when Taylor atoned for the earlier miss after a superb run from Forde ended with the perfect pass for the unmarked marksman to slide the ball joyously home.

181221 wigan 2nd (3).jpg

If you want to see why Forde is such a key part of United's set up, then go forward three minutes and he was risking life and limb to throw himself in front of the ummarked Gavin Massey to make a crucial block and make sure that all the hard work involved in the comeback wasn't undone.

Both sides went for the win; brave blocks denied Sykes and Bodin, Eastwood was smartly off his line to stop Lang at close range, and Moore made a crucial block to keep it at 2-2.

But with five minutes to go tired legs finally caught up with the home side when McClean advanced down the left flank and, with everyone expecting a cross, just kept going until he found himself with only Eastwood to beat, firing across the keeper to finally end United's stubborn resistence.

No shame in defeat, indeed plenty to admire. United had given it absolutely everything, and you cannot ask for more.

They will now rest up and then hit the road for Portsmouth on Boxing Day. Can't wait.

Att: 8,354
Away: 942

Fifty/50 winning number 9588 wins £639.50

Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Daniels and Steve Edmunds, stats by OPTA

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