United boss Appleton expresses his frustrations after Mansfield loss

The expressions on the Oxford United players sum it up as former midfielder Adam Murray hits an 88th-minute winner for Mansfield on Saturday

The expressions on the Oxford United players sum it up as former midfielder Adam Murray hits an 88th-minute winner for Mansfield on Saturday

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

Michael Appleton was hugely frustrated at the way his Oxford United side failed to heed the warnings about Mansfield Town’s game plan as they went down to a 2-1 defeat.

The below-par visitors looked like they had salvaged something when substitute Danny Hylton equalised from the penalty spot.

But with two minutes of normal time remaining, Adam Murray pounced on a weak clearing header and fired home the winner against his former club.

United struggled to find a rhythm all afternoon against a direct Stags side, which went about the game in exactly the way Appleton had briefed the squad.

The head coach said: “We knew what was coming, so it was nothing that surprised the players.

“Probably concentration is really the only thing that cost us.

“With the second goal we could’ve done better with the first ball, but we’d spoken to the players about dealing with the first and second balls.

“It let us down and we paid the price.”

Appleton limited his post-match comments in the changing room solely to praising the impact of substitutes Hylton, Josh Ruffels and debutant Alex Jakubiak.

The U’s boss’s irritation with the performance boiled over at one stage, lashing out to damage the plastic dugout.

He said: “I’m surprised what happened did happen, but I said I’d pay for it, so I’m sure they’ll be happy about that.

“Sometimes you wish some of the players would probably show just as much frustration and passion as I do at times, but these things happen.”

After drawing level, United had a decision to make in the closing stages.

While some felt the priority should have been on protecting a point, Appleton argued given the state of the game it was worth going for all three.

He said: “The game was there for the winning, so we’re not going to make those type of excuses.

“That’s an easy excuse to make and a couple of players mentioned it coming in, but for me at the end of the day they are beaten once we get that equaliser.

“We need to do better, we had a couple of half chances, but as I said to the players we’re two games in.”

United’s search for reinforcements goes on, but Appleton thought it was unlikely anything would happen before tomorrow night’s game at Morecambe.

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Comments (17)

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10:14am Mon 18 Aug 14

oldun says...

Newey - why? Wright, Raynes, Hunt , Newey - last season they were often saved by our two players of the season (Clark and Mullins) . Wright (yes)and those other three (and Wing) are not good enough to take us up . Obviously other departments need strengthening too - bad choice of captain. Yes it's early days and yes I am a boring old pessimist . I am very worried that we will be in this division again next year . Too many players are not good enough for a promotion side says mr thumbs down . Do you agree?
Newey - why? Wright, Raynes, Hunt , Newey - last season they were often saved by our two players of the season (Clark and Mullins) . Wright (yes)and those other three (and Wing) are not good enough to take us up . Obviously other departments need strengthening too - bad choice of captain. Yes it's early days and yes I am a boring old pessimist . I am very worried that we will be in this division again next year . Too many players are not good enough for a promotion side says mr thumbs down . Do you agree? oldun
  • Score: -9

10:41am Mon 18 Aug 14

London_Ox says...

Still early days but as others have pointed out, last season we had enough in tank to get a result out of a fixture like this.

I'm actually worried that if we don't get adequate reinforcements, we will end up in a relegation battle.. Classic case and point are both Torquay and Bristol Rovers who last season were expected to contest for the play offs and at worse would finish mid table also runs but due squad trims and not replacing departing players with quality, they plummeted and they were in the conference before they knew it..
Still early days but as others have pointed out, last season we had enough in tank to get a result out of a fixture like this. I'm actually worried that if we don't get adequate reinforcements, we will end up in a relegation battle.. Classic case and point are both Torquay and Bristol Rovers who last season were expected to contest for the play offs and at worse would finish mid table also runs but due squad trims and not replacing departing players with quality, they plummeted and they were in the conference before they knew it.. London_Ox
  • Score: 21

11:15am Mon 18 Aug 14

wayoutwest says...

Agree with some of Oldun's points disagree with others! Went to Bristol City game last week and have to say that although they played OK, Newey and Hunt in the full-back positions were the only two that looked alien to the patient passing game MA was trying to instill in the team. Wright, whilst having a difficult season last year, looks a different player when playing alongside Mullins and actually had a very good game, agree however that Mullins should be skipper instead of Wright. I do agree that in general the squad still needs strengthening but was very pleased with the signings made so far. I know people say that loan signings are not the answer but have to say that both Riley and Morris were superb last week and you could tell that they had been brought in from clubs higher up the pyramid. Yes some experienced heads would be good signings but we don't want to just end up with L2 journeymen! In general not a great start to the season but put into perspective we're only two games in and surely must let MA's ideas take fruition - hopefully if we look again in 10 games time the negative things will have started to iron themselves out and be outweighed by the positive!
Agree with some of Oldun's points disagree with others! Went to Bristol City game last week and have to say that although they played OK, Newey and Hunt in the full-back positions were the only two that looked alien to the patient passing game MA was trying to instill in the team. Wright, whilst having a difficult season last year, looks a different player when playing alongside Mullins and actually had a very good game, agree however that Mullins should be skipper instead of Wright. I do agree that in general the squad still needs strengthening but was very pleased with the signings made so far. I know people say that loan signings are not the answer but have to say that both Riley and Morris were superb last week and you could tell that they had been brought in from clubs higher up the pyramid. Yes some experienced heads would be good signings but we don't want to just end up with L2 journeymen! In general not a great start to the season but put into perspective we're only two games in and surely must let MA's ideas take fruition - hopefully if we look again in 10 games time the negative things will have started to iron themselves out and be outweighed by the positive! wayoutwest
  • Score: 6

11:38am Mon 18 Aug 14

Bumble08 says...

I'd rather go for all 3 points than sit on 1, if we do that all season we hopefully we will come out on the right side of it.

We missed Ruffles in the middle i thought as he has started the season really well. As i have said previously we need to give the new regime time and backing. Look at Scunthorpe last season, they started off poorly and got promoted, a lot has gone on at the club over the last 2 months, do you think the way things were going under Waddock we would be any better off?

It's hard to get out of a losing mentality and the players got in to that the back end of last year. Was it 1 win in the last 13, a couple of scrappy results and we could go on a nice little run and all will be well.

You have my backing MA as i would much rather have you than Waddock. COYYs
I'd rather go for all 3 points than sit on 1, if we do that all season we hopefully we will come out on the right side of it. We missed Ruffles in the middle i thought as he has started the season really well. As i have said previously we need to give the new regime time and backing. Look at Scunthorpe last season, they started off poorly and got promoted, a lot has gone on at the club over the last 2 months, do you think the way things were going under Waddock we would be any better off? It's hard to get out of a losing mentality and the players got in to that the back end of last year. Was it 1 win in the last 13, a couple of scrappy results and we could go on a nice little run and all will be well. You have my backing MA as i would much rather have you than Waddock. COYYs Bumble08
  • Score: 14

11:43am Mon 18 Aug 14

oldun says...

Which idiot headed the ball straight to Murray? Saw it once on TV. Almost anywhere else would have been far better . He then had the cheek to blast whoever should have been picking up Murray (Yep, that was error too)
Which idiot headed the ball straight to Murray? Saw it once on TV. Almost anywhere else would have been far better . He then had the cheek to blast whoever should have been picking up Murray (Yep, that was error too) oldun
  • Score: 8

11:50am Mon 18 Aug 14

OUFC 4 EVA says...

The back four should be Riley, Mullins, Wright, Meades with Collins, Ruffles and Rose in the middle and Brown, Morris and Hylton as the front 3, that side would surely start picking up some wins?!
The back four should be Riley, Mullins, Wright, Meades with Collins, Ruffles and Rose in the middle and Brown, Morris and Hylton as the front 3, that side would surely start picking up some wins?! OUFC 4 EVA
  • Score: 10

12:40pm Mon 18 Aug 14

bigchet says...

played very poorly in the first half against a weak mansfield side that did little more than hit and hope and went down to two bad goals. really feel that hylton should start alongside morris to beef up our attack and dont hold out much hope of a points return at morecambe on our present form but we can only hope.
played very poorly in the first half against a weak mansfield side that did little more than hit and hope and went down to two bad goals. really feel that hylton should start alongside morris to beef up our attack and dont hold out much hope of a points return at morecambe on our present form but we can only hope. bigchet
  • Score: 2

1:48pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Oxokuba says...

Early days but there are deeper concerns for me with the board - something not quite right about the takeover. Appleton has time to fix playing side and if he fails he can't complain as he has brought players in and had the cushion of not even being interviewed for the job. I find it odd that a director of the club has registered a company name and that company has yet to trade but remarkably it's now the club sponsor? I just hope this new regime bring their promises of taking the club forwards into reality but nothing that has happened so far has convinced me this is anything more than tokenism from a group of people who may have taken on something that's too big for them. Vanity often clouds reality. I expect Lenagan was chuffed to get some of his debt paid back. If we're struggling by end of October I can't see us anywhere but low end of table or god forbid in a relegation spot.

I have an ounce of optimism left in me.
Early days but there are deeper concerns for me with the board - something not quite right about the takeover. Appleton has time to fix playing side and if he fails he can't complain as he has brought players in and had the cushion of not even being interviewed for the job. I find it odd that a director of the club has registered a company name and that company has yet to trade but remarkably it's now the club sponsor? I just hope this new regime bring their promises of taking the club forwards into reality but nothing that has happened so far has convinced me this is anything more than tokenism from a group of people who may have taken on something that's too big for them. Vanity often clouds reality. I expect Lenagan was chuffed to get some of his debt paid back. If we're struggling by end of October I can't see us anywhere but low end of table or god forbid in a relegation spot. I have an ounce of optimism left in me. Oxokuba
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Mon 18 Aug 14

oldun says...

Season ticket sales -how they relative to last season ?
Season ticket sales -how they relative to last season ? oldun
  • Score: 1

1:54pm Mon 18 Aug 14

oldun says...

Season ticket sales -how are they relative to last season ?
Season ticket sales -how are they relative to last season ? oldun
  • Score: -2

6:31pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Richard Wickson says...

Oxokuba wrote:
Early days but there are deeper concerns for me with the board - something not quite right about the takeover. Appleton has time to fix playing side and if he fails he can't complain as he has brought players in and had the cushion of not even being interviewed for the job. I find it odd that a director of the club has registered a company name and that company has yet to trade but remarkably it's now the club sponsor? I just hope this new regime bring their promises of taking the club forwards into reality but nothing that has happened so far has convinced me this is anything more than tokenism from a group of people who may have taken on something that's too big for them. Vanity often clouds reality. I expect Lenagan was chuffed to get some of his debt paid back. If we're struggling by end of October I can't see us anywhere but low end of table or god forbid in a relegation spot.

I have an ounce of optimism left in me.
An ounce? So far the team, the manager and the new regime have promised a lot but delivered little. The defence looks shocking, the midfield absent and the forwards............
.... What forwards, they aren't seeing the ball and when they do don't know what to do with it! I totally agree with you re the Sponsors, the manager must be wondering what he has taken on. At the moment the future doesn't look good, it's a big worry, a very big worry! January's window may be too late.
[quote][p][bold]Oxokuba[/bold] wrote: Early days but there are deeper concerns for me with the board - something not quite right about the takeover. Appleton has time to fix playing side and if he fails he can't complain as he has brought players in and had the cushion of not even being interviewed for the job. I find it odd that a director of the club has registered a company name and that company has yet to trade but remarkably it's now the club sponsor? I just hope this new regime bring their promises of taking the club forwards into reality but nothing that has happened so far has convinced me this is anything more than tokenism from a group of people who may have taken on something that's too big for them. Vanity often clouds reality. I expect Lenagan was chuffed to get some of his debt paid back. If we're struggling by end of October I can't see us anywhere but low end of table or god forbid in a relegation spot. I have an ounce of optimism left in me.[/p][/quote]An ounce? So far the team, the manager and the new regime have promised a lot but delivered little. The defence looks shocking, the midfield absent and the forwards............ .... What forwards, they aren't seeing the ball and when they do don't know what to do with it! I totally agree with you re the Sponsors, the manager must be wondering what he has taken on. At the moment the future doesn't look good, it's a big worry, a very big worry! January's window may be too late. Richard Wickson
  • Score: -1

7:02pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Davos P says...

Completely understand Appleton holding his head in his hands! Just seen the defensive **** up from Wright. Beyond pathetic! then even more unforgivable was the lack of anticipation to clear the 2nd ball in the penalty area.
I feel for our away fans because from what I've heard the match lacked any entertainment so they could at least got a point. Repeats of these mistakes need to punished especially from our supposed best players! Any more of that drivvel and key players should be dropped.
Completely understand Appleton holding his head in his hands! Just seen the defensive **** up from Wright. Beyond pathetic! then even more unforgivable was the lack of anticipation to clear the 2nd ball in the penalty area. I feel for our away fans because from what I've heard the match lacked any entertainment so they could at least got a point. Repeats of these mistakes need to punished especially from our supposed best players! Any more of that drivvel and key players should be dropped. Davos P
  • Score: 4

11:41am Tue 19 Aug 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

clueless totally im afraid.. Oxford is going down this year - mark my words :-(
clueless totally im afraid.. Oxford is going down this year - mark my words :-( yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: -4

12:56pm Tue 19 Aug 14

oldun says...

Davos P wrote:
Completely understand Appleton holding his head in his hands! Just seen the defensive **** up from Wright. Beyond pathetic! then even more unforgivable was the lack of anticipation to clear the 2nd ball in the penalty area.
I feel for our away fans because from what I've heard the match lacked any entertainment so they could at least got a point. Repeats of these mistakes need to punished especially from our supposed best players! Any more of that drivvel and key players should be dropped.
Wright was it! He had the temerity to bellow at the player who should have picked up the totally unmarked Murray .
[quote][p][bold]Davos P[/bold] wrote: Completely understand Appleton holding his head in his hands! Just seen the defensive **** up from Wright. Beyond pathetic! then even more unforgivable was the lack of anticipation to clear the 2nd ball in the penalty area. I feel for our away fans because from what I've heard the match lacked any entertainment so they could at least got a point. Repeats of these mistakes need to punished especially from our supposed best players! Any more of that drivvel and key players should be dropped.[/p][/quote]Wright was it! He had the temerity to bellow at the player who should have picked up the totally unmarked Murray . oldun
  • Score: 1

3:38pm Tue 19 Aug 14

Benkiu says...

Our goalie made a mistake for their first goal.

Hylton is now a diver as well as a racist.

Wright is no more to blame than Newey. They both went to head the ball and got in each other's way. Did anyone call? Don't know. But the main culprits are those ball watchers that didn't even try and put a block in on Murray.

Wright is within his right.

And good talking from Appleton. 3 points is like, three times as much as one. Why settle for one.... Never settle for one unless you know the opposition is better than you...
Our goalie made a mistake for their first goal. Hylton is now a diver as well as a racist. Wright is no more to blame than Newey. They both went to head the ball and got in each other's way. Did anyone call? Don't know. But the main culprits are those ball watchers that didn't even try and put a block in on Murray. Wright is within his right. And good talking from Appleton. 3 points is like, three times as much as one. Why settle for one.... Never settle for one unless you know the opposition is better than you... Benkiu
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Tue 19 Aug 14

oldun says...

Benkiu wrote:
Our goalie made a mistake for their first goal.

Hylton is now a diver as well as a racist.

Wright is no more to blame than Newey. They both went to head the ball and got in each other's way. Did anyone call? Don't know. But the main culprits are those ball watchers that didn't even try and put a block in on Murray.

Wright is within his right.

And good talking from Appleton. 3 points is like, three times as much as one. Why settle for one.... Never settle for one unless you know the opposition is better than you...
Of course Wright was within his right to blast off the non marker . Unexpectedly, I have just seen it again . Wright's appalling error came first - and much as I realise that Wright (modest 4th tier standard player) is much better at his job than Newey is at his , it was Wright's fault- not Newey's !
[quote][p][bold]Benkiu[/bold] wrote: Our goalie made a mistake for their first goal. Hylton is now a diver as well as a racist. Wright is no more to blame than Newey. They both went to head the ball and got in each other's way. Did anyone call? Don't know. But the main culprits are those ball watchers that didn't even try and put a block in on Murray. Wright is within his right. And good talking from Appleton. 3 points is like, three times as much as one. Why settle for one.... Never settle for one unless you know the opposition is better than you...[/p][/quote]Of course Wright was within his right to blast off the non marker . Unexpectedly, I have just seen it again . Wright's appalling error came first - and much as I realise that Wright (modest 4th tier standard player) is much better at his job than Newey is at his , it was Wright's fault- not Newey's ! oldun
  • Score: 2

5:02pm Tue 19 Aug 14

baldy bill says...

whats happened to matt bevans surely i think he should be getting some games
whats happened to matt bevans surely i think he should be getting some games baldy bill
  • Score: 3

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