2023/24 Season Review Part 8

As the season began to draw towards a close, March was possibly United's most challenging month so far.

Following an international break, the action resumed with the visit of Cheltenham Town to the Kassam Stadium. United took the lead shortly before the break as Cameron Brannagan teed up Josh Murphy - fresh from receiving the New Home Improvements Player of the Month award for February - and he skipped into the area and buried a shot past Luke Southwood. With 10 minutes to go, Cheltenham equalised through Will Ferry. Greg Leigh forced a good save out of Southwood but he was not to be denied and in the 88th minute he met Owen Dale's cross with a powerful header to earn the three points for the U's.

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From the highs against Cheltenham to the lows at Bolton Wanderers. Live on TV, Oxford were humbled 5-0 at the Toughsheet Stadium, but out of adversity comes opportunity, and while it may not have felt like it at the time, this result provided the impetus that Oxford needed to reset and focus.

This process began in the very next game as a trip to Port Vale got the U's back on track. With four changes to the starting line-up, United took the game to the Valiants and went in front after Ciaron Brown stabbed home a Cameron Brannagan corner. Oxford were playing with purpose and extended the lead at the start of the second half. Another Brannagan corner, this time taken short to Murphy who made an angle for himself before shooting into the opposite corner of the goal from the corner of the penalty area. It was a great response to the Bolton result and set the side off on a run of just one defeat from their final 11 games.


The month finished with a visit to Shrewsbury. Oxford were on top for most of the first half, although Jamie Cumming made an excellent save to deny Carl Winchester. Eight minutes into the second half United made the breakthrough as Billy Bodin collected Mark Harris's pass and smashed the ball into the roof of the net. Winchester then hit the post for the home side before they equalised from a Jack Price volley with eight minutes remaining. Two dropped points or a vital away point? Join us for the April round-up to find out (although you already know the answer)!