Oxford United's proud derby record was finally ended today when a Tom Broadbent goal and an injury time winner by Tyler Smith earned Swindon a win at the Kassam Stadium. Leading through a Matty Taylor goal, United couldn't capitalise on a half-time advantage and instead were beaten by two late goals.
Fans weren't there to see a typical full-throttle encounter but watched online as United fought hard but will reflect on missed first-half chances that eventually cost them the win.
They allowed the visitors the first two half chances, with winger Jordan Stevens causing problems on the right flank but then took control and had much the best of the first half.
Taylor volleyed a difficult dropping ball from Liam Kelly on target but it was tipped round the post by Matej Kovar, but it didn’t take him long to find the net. With 14 minutes gone, off he raced towards the Hall/Johnson End on to a neat pass from Kelly, clear of a ponderous Robins back line and waiting for Kovar to go to ground. As soon as he did, Taylor clipped the ball over him and United were ahead.
Simon Eastwood, the only starter to have played in the derby before, needed to make a good save from Matthew Smith but was otherwise well protected by his defence, while it was Kovar who had to make much the better saves, tipping away a Kelly drive at full stretch as the midfielder ran the show in the first half and smuggling a Jordan Obita effort round the post on 35 as the U’s created the better chances.
The energy of Marcus McGuane was driving United forward and they should have been two up before the break when Taylor studded a superb cross from the excellent Long past the far post with the goal at his mercy and Kovar nowhere to be seen.
Swindon, forced into two substitutions after injuries before the break, will have been warmed by a few choice words from new boss John Sheridan at half time and stepped things up to try and find a way back into the game. Whatever Sheridan said worked.
Striker Smith had a chance which Rob Atkinson blocked bravely but the Robins found it extremely hard work to break them down and United looked on course for the win
What they needed - attacking the Vigouroux End superbly decorated by their fans with a huge card display that dominated the empty stands - was a second goal to settle any late nerves. Josh Ruffels almost found it with a header from a corner on 69 minutes but the chances had dried up in the second half and any derby - EVERY derby - can change in a second.
With six minutes to go, United were dropping deeper and deeper. A ball into the box, a bobbling bouncing ball from Broadbent, beat the defence and the helpless Eastwood and Swindon had their first-ever goal at the Kassam Stadium and a point to end the seven-in-a-row record
Disaster was to follow. Into injury time, Smith in on goal and the run was to end at seven.
Report by Chris Williams, photos Steve Daniels, stats by OPTA