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Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 0 Barnsley 1

U's beaten by Barnsley. Full time report

23 January 2024

Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 0 Barnsley 1

U's beaten by Barnsley. Full time report

23 January 2024

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Oxford United's first home game of 2024 ended in defeat tonight as in-form Barnsley won 1-0 at the Kassam Stadium.

The game was decided by a single goal halfway through the first half when the returning Sam Long, under pressure from Devante Cole, steered the ball into his own net to divide the teams in a close game and ease the Tykes three points ahead of the U's in fifth place in the Sky Bet League 1 table.

In a game high on commitment, it was the U's who might have made an early breakthrough when Fin Stevens dragged wide after 15 evenly contested minutes, or when Marcus McGuane made a mess of an attempted lob with the away keeper stranded, but the away side went far closer than either of those attempts when Nicky Cadden’s swirling cross looped onto the bar with debutant keeper Jamie Cumming stranded.

The in-form Tykes then started to get on top and enjoyed their best spell of the match between then and half time. John McAtee slid another Cadden cross wide of the mark half way through the first 45 minutes, before Long’s return to the side became both decisive and short-lived.


First, the unfortunate defender, with Cole on his back, knocked an Adam Phillips cross inside the near post to make it 0-1 - it may have been Cole’s fifth in five games but it looked like Long got the final touch.

Then, with his side looking to bounce back, Long bashed heads with Cole on half way and was forced out of the game, clutching a bandage to a cut on his forehead. A headache all round, and a minute before the break there was another enforced chance when Greg Leigh replaced the injured Joe Bennett - no question that United had endured a troubled first half.

They were still in it and might have been level straight after the break when Mark Harris took advantage of some poor defending but was foiled by keeper Liam Roberts, who was swiftly off his line to meet the advancing striker.

With rain pouring and wind swirling, both sides struggled to master the conditions, but United managed to build up a head of steam after the hour mark, with Cameron Brannagan driving them forward and Barnsley increasingly reliant on the counter attack.

There were half chances and misplaced passes with teammates well placed, and only the bar denied Brannagan with a trademark drive that flew past the keeper but was just that little bit too high.

Close margins decide such games. Two further Brannagan efforts went close but it just wasn't to be.

Two well-matched sides - Barnsley avenging a 3-1 defeat at Oakwell earlier in the season - and neither team will be too far away come the end of the season.

Long way to go still. See you at Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

Attendance 6,703 including 307 away

Polythene UK Fifty/50 winning number

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

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