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Match Reports

REPORT Morecambe 2 Oxford United 1

U's beaten at Morecambe. Full time report

5 April 2022

Match Reports

REPORT Morecambe 2 Oxford United 1

U's beaten at Morecambe. Full time report

5 April 2022

Oxford United lost on the road for the second time in a week as Cole Stockton's goal gave battling Morecambe a League 1 lifeline.

Leading through an early goal from Matty Taylor, United held the lead for just ten minutes before captain Aaron Wildig made it 1-1 and Stockton then decided things with a clinical finish that moved the home side out of the relegation places.

It all looked so good when Taylor rifled home his 22nd goal of the season in just the third minute.

He owed a lot to Mark Sykes in the build up, the Irishman bursting forward from a deeper midfield role and committing defenders who were drawn to the ball as he roared into the box. A low cross, a touch from Taylor to move it out of his feet and 1-0 to the U’s. Sadly it was the only time the magnificent Trevor Carson was to be beaten.

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On a foul Lancashire evening with constant drizzle making a heavy pitch ever heavier, United were bright in their movement and looked comfortable. But then, as at Plymouth on Saturday, conceded to the first shot at their goal.

A bobbling ball wasn’t cleared and captain Wildig seized on it just outside the area and drove the ball down into the sodden turf, from where it bounced over the stranded Jack Stevens and into the sodden net to level matters with 14 minutes gone.

United almost hit back straight away when home keeper Carson - always a nuisance against the U's - made a good save from Nathan Holland’s skidding drive and Holland then lifted a similar chance over on 22 minutes.

On 24 minutes it was 2-1 to the home side when Herbie Kane was robbed as he tried to turn, Stockton ran at the defence, Adam Phillips carried it forward and then Stockton made the finish look simple when Phillips cut the ball back for the top scorer inside the area.

Again United regained control of the game but couldn’t turn possession into goals. Williams and Whyte whistled efforts across the face of goal from the right and Taylor missed his kick with the best chance of the half on 44 minutes, after Nathan Holland had rolled him in on goal.

The chances kept coming after the break, with Whyte seeing a pass across goal cut out when he might have tried his luck with United playing into the teeth of a gale.

Kane saw a shot saved and had Morecambe, fighting for survival in League 1, dropped any deeper, they would have been on the beach as they tried to stem the tide of white shirts coming at them.

James Henry and Billy Bodin were given half an hour to help the side find a way through and almost immediately United were through on goal only for the studs on Carson's left boot to deflect Holland's goalbound effort past the post. By such fine margins are seasons defined.

United threw everything into it and there was no shortage of effort and commitment, but just as Plymouth beat them with their only shot on target, Morecambe were now leading with their only two, Stevens subsequently saving a well struck third from the excellent Phillips.

At the other end, sub Sam Winnall saw a defender deflect his first touch inches the wrong side of the post, McNally's low drive flew through a sea of legs but was kicked away by Carson, who then made a world class save in the very last minute to somehow keep out another Winnall shot.

There was to be no way through depite all the pressure, and in among the chances United had also missed a much bigger opportunity.

There is still time to achieve what they set out to do this season, this just makes it all look that much harder.

See you against Sunderland on Saturday...

Att: 3,882
Away: 304

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

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