The biggest crowd of the season saw Oxford United draw 0-0 with York City at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon. Supporters Day saw a crowd of over 9,000 for a tight game that gave both sides a more than useful point that should just about ensure United stay up and in all probability means the two teams will meet again next time around.
After a ferocious 3-2 win at Wycombe on Good Friday there were two changes to the line-up, with Danny Hylton and Patrick Hoban given a rest after their tireless performances at Adams Park. Kemar Roofe’s reward for two goals in that game was a move from right wing to centre forward, with on-loan Kyle Vassell handed a first start alongside him and Alex MacDonald recalled on the right after missing two games through suspension.
Roofe looked lively in his new role as United tried to set him free down the channels but York have a better away record than home and their five-man back line was equal to everything United threw at them in the first half hour, setting the tone for what was to come. Rose almost connected with a superb Roofe cross on 23 but York keeper Michael Ingham remained untested until the break, other than a simple take from a 35th-minute shot from Vassell. At the other end Ryan Clarke, like Ingham a reminder of Wembley 2010, was equally untroubled as the two defences dominated the opening half. No shortage of neat passing and smart movement, just a lack of clear chances to go with it.
There were more chances in the first four-and-a-half minutes of the second half than the entire opening period. United almost make the breakthrough 90 seconds in as the falling Joe Skarz hooked a free kick goalwards but saw it flash a yard the wrong side of the post. York then had their best chance thus far when centre-half Dave Winfield got up well at the far post but saw his header cleared by Jake Wright, one of several perfectly timed challenges from the outstanding United skipper.
The visitors had their best spell of the match straight after the break, set-pieces and deep hanging crosses asking questions of Clarke and his defence but mopped up and cleared whenever danger arrived. There was a terrific challenge from Mullins on 56, several well-timed interventions either side of it and the entire United team looked determined to keep a clean sheet that would at least get them to 50 points and apparent safety at the foot of the table.
Hoban and Hylton were given half an hour to try and turn that one point into three and the Yellows looked the more likely side to force a breakthrough, Hoban failing to connect with a Hylton pull back, Rose dragging his shot across goal on 77 and Ruffels stinging the fingers of Ingham with a well-struck shot from the edge of the area on 80.
No third consecutive win then for the U's but four points from the Easter weekend and a togetherness and work ethic that will stand them in good stead as they look to end the season on a high.
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Report by Chris Williams, Pictures Steve Daniels, Stats by OPTA
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