Oxford United manager Chris Wilder says the lack of goals and failure to win tight games has been their shortfall this season.

After seeing his side miss out on a place in the npower League Two play-offs with a 3-0 defeat at Port Vale on Saturday, the U’s boss reflected on what might have been.

“We’ve drawn too many games and missed too many chances,” he said.

“We’ve played OK football and been defensively tight, but we’ve not won enough tight games. Over the last six weeks, that’s especially been the case.

“We got ourselves into great positions against Northampton (a 2-1 defeat), Shrewsbury and Torquay (both 2-2) – those points would have been enough to get us into the play-offs.”

There was little to choose between the sides on Saturday before Marc Richards put Vale in front just before the break.

United poured forward in the second half looking for a way back into the game, but Sean Rigg and Ben Williamson struck on the counter-attack as the hosts ran out comfortable winners.

Wilder said: “It just epitomises us really, because I thought we were OK in the first half.

“We had to make a few changes and I thought they worked pretty well, my goalkeeper’s not had a lot to do and I thought we had two or three good opportunities to put ourselves in front.

“One mistake and we go in behind at half-time.

“We were then chasing the game in the second half, leaving big gaps.”

The ninth-place finish was an improvement on last season, but the failure to claim a top-seven spot outweighed any satisfaction in the United camp.

Wilder said: “We’ve got to keep improving and it hurts because I wanted a shot at the play-offs.

“We would have been a difficult nut to crack if we had got there, but we’ve fallen short.

“As I’ve always done here I give my heart and soul into making us better next season.”