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Match Reports

Report: Town lose to out Oxford in heart breaking fashion

14 January 2023

Match Reports

Report: Town lose to out Oxford in heart breaking fashion

14 January 2023

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Fleetwood Town were beaten at home by Oxford United at Highbury in Sky Bet League One on Saturday afternoon.

Brendan Wiredu put the Cods ahead with a brilliant finish towards the end of the first half but second half goals from Kyle Joseph and Ciaran Brown of Oxford gave the visitors the win.

The game started at a slow pace, both sides were trying to find each other out and see what the state of play would be. Cian Hayes was at it from the get-go though as he took the ball of an Oxford defender and sprinted down the left.

Cods skipper Josh Vela made a surging run just six minutes in but his ball across the face of goal wasn’t met by a fellow Fleetwood player. The wind was playing a factor in proceedings early on, as many lofted balls were flying out of play from both sides.

Hayes, who played well in Fleetwood’s last home game was proving influential again. As he contributed with Town’s first chance of the game, drawing a save out of Simon Eastwood in the Oxford goal. That was followed by a header over from Toto Nsiala.

Fleetwood opened the visitors up once more when Vela picked out Promise Omochere in the middle, whose effort was on target but was also a good save by Eastwood. Town should have been ahead just over the twenty-minute mark.

Oxford really struggled to get a foothold in the game, midway through the first half it was still Fleetwood who looked the most likely to score. It was Hayes again who had a chance, weaving his way in an out and finally got his shot off but it was again saved by Oxford’s goalkeeper.

The U’s were then on the ropes once more 36 minutes in as Omochere’s ball into the box caused some confusion as Brendan Wiredu’s shot was headed onto the bar by Hayes but Eastwood eventually tipped the ball over.

The game was deprived of chances for Oxford, but Town should have been a goal to the good, over half an hour in.

The chances just kept coming for the Cods but still, Oxford’s defence stood firm. Admiral Muskwe fired an effort on target, only for a visiting defender to block.

Fleetwood’s good run of form show far was showing in the game, their attack was creative, but they just lacked that killer instinct heading to the break.

That killer instinct then arrived when in the 44th minute, Wiredu placed a lovely, slotted finish into the bottom right-corner of Eastwood’s goal to put the Cods into a 1-0 lead. The pressure Scott Brown’s side piled onto the U’s seemed to be paying off.

At the start of the second half, Fleetwood kept the pressure on Oxford, but the wind continued to play a part in things.

Just as Town began to pull away and create more and more chances, an inspired change by Oxford manager Karl Robinson, which saw Kyle Joseph come into the game, and within twenty seconds of being on the pitch, he scored an equaliser for the visitors.

After the Oxford goal was scored, Danny Andrew had to receive some treatment but was soon back up and play resumed as Town searched for a way back into a lead.

It always seemed like the Cods were in command of the game and the Oxford chances were few and far between but once the away side got themselves level, they became more involved, midway through the second half.

Yet again, just like the first half, Fleetwood had a glorious opportunity when a ball across the face of goal from Hayes, was somehow put over by Omochere, who grew as the game went on.

As the game wound down to its final knockings, it seemed like neither side could find that winning goal until the final minute when Oxford won the game in controversial fashion.

Brown it was with the goal, tapping it in after a goal-mouth scramble. However, before the goal, Fleetwood claimed that Oxford forward Billy Bodin controlled the ball with his arm, but the referee didn’t sanction him for it. Play continued and that is where the U’s got their goal from.

That was how it ended, Oxford snatching it in the last minute – a tough result for Fleetwood to take.

Cods XI: Lynch (GK), Andrew (Mendes Gomes 67’), Wiredu, Vela (C), Muskwe, Warrington, Omochere, Hayes, Nsiala, Johnston, Earl.

Unused subs: McMullan (GK), Lane, Holgate, Patterson.

U’s XI: Eastwood (GK), Long, Moore (C), Brannagan, Bate, Brown, McGuane (Bodin 45’), Murphy (Goodrham, 72’), Wildschut (Joseph 60’), Anderson (Findlay 90’), O’Donkor (Taylor 72’).

Unused subs: McGinty (GK), Fleming.

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