Fleetwood Town 3 (Matt 9, Crowther 58, Parkin 86) Oxford United 0

OXFORD United's eight-game unbeaten run in npower League Two came to an end with a defeat at Fleetwood Town.

The Cod Army's first two goals had an element of fortune to them, especially their bizarre opener, but the visitors could have no complaints about coming away with nothing after a performance which lacked quality at both ends.

Jamille Matt was credited with the opener, but he knew nothing about the strike as Michael Raynes' clearance hit him and flew in.

The hosts could easily have been further in front before the break, but they had to wait until just before the hour for a second goal.

Again United were unfortunate, as Damian Batt's attempted clearance stuck on the heavy pitch and Ryan Crowther ran in to score.

The U's came back into the game in the final half hour, but were unable to create a gilt-edged chance.

Substitute Jon Parkin made sure of the points with a close range finish late on.

Hamstring injuries ruled out Lewis Montrose and Liam Davies, so Simon Heslop and Tony Capaldi came into the side in the only changes from the XI which started the 2-1 win at Bradford City.

Neither side had played for a fortnight, but Fleetwood looked far sharper right from the kick-off.

Gareth Evans impressed on the left flank and he had the game's first effort. Cutting inside, he let fly from 25 yards with a shot which almost squirmed under Wayne Brown, who gathered at the second attempt.

Fleetwood were in control as United struggled to adapt to a difficult pitch, but the opening goal owed more to luck than judgement.

A ball forward to Jamie Allen appeared to have been dealt with by Raynes, but his clearance struck Matt and from 20 yards the ball ricocheted over a stranded Brown and into the net.

The striker sheepishly celebrated, but Fleetwood went on to justify their lead.

Matt, signed this month for a club record £300,000, was a handful and came close to a second goal on 20 minutes.

The striker held off Jake Wright in the box, but Michael Duberry got across to prevent a clean strike on goal.

Evans tested Brown again from range shortly afterwards, this time the goalkeeper turned the stinging shot round the post.

From the corner Rob Atkinson headed in at the back post, but the goal was ruled out for a foul.

United invited pressure by failing to hold on to the ball up front, as all too often passes went astray.

Fleetwood came close to a second goal on the half hour mark as a free-kick caused chaos in the United defence.

Brown came out to punch the delivery, but Matt got there first and his header struck the post. From the rebound Raynes hit the ball against Brown and it spun towards the goal before Wright finally cleared.

Given the balance of play, United may have been relieved to get back into the changing room at half time only one goal adrift.

The visitors had gained a foothold in the game late in the half, but despite forcing several corners they failed to register a shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes.

U's boss Chris Wilder brought on Adam Chapman for Raynes at the break as they switched from 3-4-3 to 4-3-3.

The midfielder ended the wait for a shot on goal almost immediately, as he saw an effort deflected wide.

But United's bright start to the half was undone by another Fleetwood goal which contained a slice of luck.

Batt completely mis-kicked a clearance as the ball sat in the mud, allowing substitute Crowther to pounce and score.

Top scorer Tom Craddock and Deane Smalley came off the bench, replacing Heslop and Justin Richards as the shape was changed to 4-4-2.

Matt should have quickly added a third goal, but after Crowther beat Batt and crossed the striker's shot on the turn was weak and straight at Brown.

United pushed forward in search of a way back into the game.

They went on to have their best spell of the afternoon, but despite putting Fleetwood under pressure, goalkeeper Scott Davies was not stretched.

The home side wrapped up the points four minutes from time.

Jamie McGuire crossed low into a crowded six-yard box and Parkin was on hand to tap home.

Oxford Utd (3-4-3): Brown, Raynes (Chapman ht), Duberry, Wright, Batt, Heslop (Craddock 58), Leven, Capaldi, Potter, Richards (Smalley 66), Rigg.

Unused subs: Crocombe, Worley, O'Brien, Parker.

Fleetwood (4-4-2): Davies, Beeley, Pond, Atkinson, Goodall, Evans, McGuire, McKenna, Brown (Crowther ht), Matt (Parkin 71), Allen (Titchiner 78).

Unused subs: Maxwell, Barry, McNulty, Nicholson.

Referee: Geoff Eltringham.

Attendance: 2,461.

Comments (11)

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5:12pm Sat 26 Jan 13

oldun says...

COYY - home games in hand - win em - we can get 3rd place - How did Heslop play - disappointed that he was in the starting line up - COYY - 3rd place
COYY - home games in hand - win em - we can get 3rd place - How did Heslop play - disappointed that he was in the starting line up - COYY - 3rd place oldun

5:52pm Sat 26 Jan 13

karatavuk says...

Wilder felt the pressure on him had lifted a bit so he couldn't resist tinkering with the formation again. 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 all in one game. No wonder the players are confused.

The tinkerman reverts to type and messes it up again. Oxford find themselves in mid table when they should be challenging for the top three.
Wilder felt the pressure on him had lifted a bit so he couldn't resist tinkering with the formation again. 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 all in one game. No wonder the players are confused. The tinkerman reverts to type and messes it up again. Oxford find themselves in mid table when they should be challenging for the top three. karatavuk

10:08pm Sat 26 Jan 13

foxvox says...

Heslop starts - we lose.
Heslop starts - we lose. foxvox

3:38am Sun 27 Jan 13

BenkiuGuasu says...

8 games unbeaten, 1 game beaten...build it up with yellow and blue...
8 games unbeaten, 1 game beaten...build it up with yellow and blue... BenkiuGuasu

6:55am Sun 27 Jan 13

oldun says...

foxvox wrote:
Heslop starts - we lose.
Agreed - makes a massive difference
[quote][p][bold]foxvox[/bold] wrote: Heslop starts - we lose.[/p][/quote]Agreed - makes a massive difference oldun

8:39pm Sun 27 Jan 13

Manor Born says...

Brown is just as much a liability as Heslop. If we're not going to give Crocombe the experience, then we should be looking at getting a decent keeper in now because we will lose more points with that clown in goal than win.

One defeat in 8 is quite a turn-a-round though. Now we need to see what this team are really made of...
Brown is just as much a liability as Heslop. If we're not going to give Crocombe the experience, then we should be looking at getting a decent keeper in now because we will lose more points with that clown in goal than win. One defeat in 8 is quite a turn-a-round though. Now we need to see what this team are really made of... Manor Born

8:54am Mon 28 Jan 13

bigchet says...

both cw and jake wright agreed that we were poor on the day and were well beaten at the end although the first two goals had a big element of luck. if we are to climb the league we need to sign a keeper as i dont think that brown is good enough and it unsettles the whole defence if they do not have confidence in the keeper.lets hope for a better display on tues with jc and craddock starting together.
both cw and jake wright agreed that we were poor on the day and were well beaten at the end although the first two goals had a big element of luck. if we are to climb the league we need to sign a keeper as i dont think that brown is good enough and it unsettles the whole defence if they do not have confidence in the keeper.lets hope for a better display on tues with jc and craddock starting together. bigchet

11:02am Mon 28 Jan 13

oldun says...

343?? ?? Need 442
343?? ?? Need 442 oldun

12:41pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Manor Born says...

karatavuk wrote:
Wilder felt the pressure on him had lifted a bit so he couldn't resist tinkering with the formation again. 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 all in one game. No wonder the players are confused.

The tinkerman reverts to type and messes it up again. Oxford find themselves in mid table when they should be challenging for the top three.
Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. One of the major criticisms of Wilder has been his lack of flexibility in his tactics. He would have been completely slaughtered had he stuck rigidly to his original game plan throughout the game.
[quote][p][bold]karatavuk[/bold] wrote: Wilder felt the pressure on him had lifted a bit so he couldn't resist tinkering with the formation again. 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 all in one game. No wonder the players are confused. The tinkerman reverts to type and messes it up again. Oxford find themselves in mid table when they should be challenging for the top three.[/p][/quote]Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. One of the major criticisms of Wilder has been his lack of flexibility in his tactics. He would have been completely slaughtered had he stuck rigidly to his original game plan throughout the game. Manor Born

2:22pm Mon 28 Jan 13

BigAlBiker says...

442 all the way every game every day.

Simples.
442 all the way every game every day. Simples. BigAlBiker

2:40pm Mon 28 Jan 13

oldun says...

Manor Born wrote:
karatavuk wrote:
Wilder felt the pressure on him had lifted a bit so he couldn't resist tinkering with the formation again. 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 all in one game. No wonder the players are confused.

The tinkerman reverts to type and messes it up again. Oxford find themselves in mid table when they should be challenging for the top three.
Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. One of the major criticisms of Wilder has been his lack of flexibility in his tactics. He would have been completely slaughtered had he stuck rigidly to his original game plan throughout the game.
Praised if he does praised if he doesn't!
[quote][p][bold]Manor Born[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]karatavuk[/bold] wrote: Wilder felt the pressure on him had lifted a bit so he couldn't resist tinkering with the formation again. 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 all in one game. No wonder the players are confused. The tinkerman reverts to type and messes it up again. Oxford find themselves in mid table when they should be challenging for the top three.[/p][/quote]Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. One of the major criticisms of Wilder has been his lack of flexibility in his tactics. He would have been completely slaughtered had he stuck rigidly to his original game plan throughout the game.[/p][/quote]Praised if he does praised if he doesn't! oldun

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