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Oxford United v Southend United Review
Blues Back To Winning Ways - Oxford United 2-3 Southend United
Southend United secured their first victory of 2015 with a hard fought win over Oxford United at The Kassam Stadium.
Blues were almost 1-0 up in the first minute, after Oxford ‘keeper Ryan Clarke tipped David Worrall’s header over the bar and out for a corner. Soon after, Oxford almost took the lead when Danny Hylton was through on goal, but the former Aldershot striker could only fire the ball over the fence and into the car park.
Oxford weren’t made to rue Hylton’s miss, as they took the lead a few minutes later. Teenage striker Callum O’Dowda was put clean through on goal by Will Hoskins and O’Dowda did the rest, placing the ball under Daniel Bentley and into the net.
Blues didn’t let the hosts’ goal get to them and were on the scoresheet themselves soon after. Some neat play between Will Atkinson & Ben Coker led to the latter putting a delightful cross into the box, which was headed in by David Worrall. 1-1.
Blues continued to push and found themselves repeatedly winning corners. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make the most of them, as when the ball fell to the head or feet of one of our players, the ball ended up being blocked by an Oxford player.
Blues were soon reduced to ten men after Gary Deegan received a second yellow card, for what I think, was a 50/50 challenge. Deegan & O’Dowda both went for the ball, with the latter coming off “worse”. It was only when Oxford players surrounded the referee and Deegan that the referee decided to give Deegan his second booking. The ref was too easily persuaded by the Oxford players. Blues will NOT be able to appeal against the decision.
Not long before half time, Dan Bentley tipped Hylton’s close-range header over the bar and out for a corner. From the corner, Sam Long was first to the ball and his header beat Bentley at his near post to put Oxford 2-1 up.
Whatever Blues boss Phil Brown said at half time seemed to work, as Blues turned the game on its head. First of all, Charlton loanee Joe Pigott’s great diving header bought the game all square again. Pigott managed to beat his marker to Ben Coker’s cross and direct the ball past the helpless Ryan Clarke in the Oxford goal.
Oxford continued to push but nothing came of it. Efforts from Andy Whing, O’Dowda & Hylton were all either saved by Bentley or were just put wide or over the target, and they were made to pay.
Blues made a double substitution, replacing Wolves loanee Jake Cassidy with Barry Corr & Joe Pigott with Michael Timlin.
Corr had a few half chances, which were saved by Clarke, before he diverted Ben Coker’s cut back into the corner of the net in the 85th minute, sending the travelling Blues fans mad in the away section!
Late Oxford pressure included Dan Bentley saving excellently from O’Dowda, before Jack Payne, who had replaced David Worrall in the 78th minute, cleared the ball off the line. Blues fans almost celebrated the clearance like it was a goal.
Phil Brown was sent to the stands late on for an apparent altercation with some home supporters.
The home side continued to push, but it wasn’t enough, as Blues continue their unbeaten run and stay 6th in League Two.
“You’ve Only Got Three Sides” was a common chant aimed at the Oxford fans as Blues fans made their way out of the ground.
Amazingly, only one ball ended up in the car park all game.
Ben Coker set up all of Southend’s goals.