Oxford United’s FA Cup dream is still alive after a superb draw away at Premier League Newcastle United on Saturday.
The teams will meet again at the Kassam Stadium in a replay but the U’s are in Monday’s draw for the last 16 and Karl Robinson couldn’t hide his pride not just in his players but also in the superb travelling support who raised the roof at St James’ Park.
“It’s incredible” he said. “We’ve played three Premier League teams now and the only one to beat us is Man City so you have got to give enormous credit to the players. But also credit goes to Newcastle for the way they respected the competition, and to the fans from both cities who turned out. It just shows you that this competition still has a terrific pull.
“My players were sensational. We denied space in certain areas, which we had worked on, and we had the best chance of the game and over all it was a very good performance and I am very pleased with them.
“I thought we tried to play. We didn’t come just to kick it, we stuck to our style which I thought was brave from the players. The first five minutes we were maybe a bit nervous but there was a little break in the game and I told them to relax and start playing our football. We did that, we dropped back a little bit and made distances bigger for Newcastle to cover and that opened up the game a little bit.
“I don’t think our keeper was overly worked and I thought our two centre halves were immense: they are only 22 and 23: Longy and Ruffs are 25 or so: Nathan came on, Marcus, Sykesy, Shandon: they are all very young still and it’s great testament to the Board and recruitment team, and also to the fans for allowing them to learn and make mistakes. But when it all comes together it shows what we can build here.
“It has been a good season so far but we haven’t achieved anything yet. People want to give us plaudits for our performance but sometimes that’s difficult because we feel like we haven’t done anything yet. OK, fans might say that if the season ended they would have some great memories already but we want to make it a great season at the end of it too. That will take consistency, luck and a desire beyond anyone else in our league.
“It was a great occasion today and we thank everybody who turned out. The noise was fantastic. It maybe wasn’t a great game but I am really happy with my players and to bring close to 4,000 fans was amazing.
“We look forward to seeing them on Saturday now against Blackpool. We broke the league season into 18 games from next Saturday. Everyone starts on zero points and we start again against Blackpool next weekend now.”
Enjoy Saturday? Then bring a friend for a fiver and get behind the U’s when we take on Blackpool at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday.