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Match Reports

REPORT Bristol Rovers 3 Oxford United 1

U's beaten in Bristol. Full time report

27 January 2024

Match Reports

REPORT Bristol Rovers 3 Oxford United 1

U's beaten in Bristol. Full time report

27 January 2024

Oxford United were beaten 3-1 at Bristol Rovers this afternoon as two early goals gave them too much to overcome.

Trailing to strikes from Chris Martin and Luke Thomas, United rallied after the break and were back in it when a Cameron Brannagan blast flew into the net via the body of Mark Harris, but a Harvey Vale goal reopened a two-goal gap that proved too much for the U's, who slipped to a second defeat in a row.

It was that slow start which ultimately cost the U’s the points when two goals in the space of five minutes left them two down with the game still in its first quarter.

The opening strike came after 16 minutes when the experienced Martin arrived at the back post to sidefoot past the helpless Jamie Cumming for one of the simpler goals of his career.

Rovers goal 1.jpg

Four minutes later and it was two when Thomas advanced to the edge of the box and fired inside the right-hand post with a well-struck left-footed effort.

Rovers goal 2.jpg

Stunned, United tried to respond and did start to dominate possession, but other than a well-hit but wayward Tyler Goodrham effort they didn’t truly threaten in the first half and failed to register a single effort on target before the break.

A shake-up was needed and a switch to four at the back gave them far greater impetus for the second half, when Tyler Burey's pace became an outlet down the left. A sly trip on the on-loan Odense winger wasn't spotted as he raced into the box and a Ruben Rodrigues shot was easily saved by keeper Jed Ward as the home defence dropped ever closer to the new stand at that end of the pitch.

Rovers were inviting trouble, and on 58 minutes the U's were back in it when Goodrham rolled the ball for Brannagan who let fly from 25 yards. The ball struck Harris and left Ward flat-footed as it rolled past him to make it 2-1 and give United fresh hope.

OUFC goal 1.jpg

They were pushing for an equaliser, but after 77 minutes the game was up when captain Sam Finley let fly and Cumming pushed it away, but only to Vale who made no mistake, firing into the empty net to make it 3-1 and end the comeback.

Brannagan had a shot saved, Ward kept out a Greg Leigh header and then a Rodrigues effort, and to lose 3-1 but have the opposition goalkeeper voted Man of the Match perhaps tells a story in itself, but there was to be no further way through, and United were left to regroup and get ready for the visit of Portsmouth on Tuesday night.

A big night and a big performance needed. Come and get behind them.

Attendance 9,363 including 915 away

Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Edmunds, Steve Daniels and Darrell Fisher


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