Wilder pleased with Oxford United reaction, but disappointed not to take three points (From Oxford Mail)
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Wilder pleased with Oxford United reaction, but disappointed not to take three points
CHRIS Wilder was pleased some “harsh words” at half-time provoked Oxford United into a much-needed improvement at Accrington Stanley.
The U’s would have gone top of Sky Bet League Two with a victory, but instead shared a goalless draw with the division’s bottom club.
A point did not look a bad result after a first half when Accrington were the better side against an out-of-sorts visitors.
Boss Wilder demanded much more from the players during the interval and was happy to see them control the second half, despite failing to take one of a host of opportunities.
The United manager said: “We needed a few harsh words at half-time to get ourselves going.
“We did that and I thought in the second half we were excellent without doing the hardest thing in the game, which is sticking the ball in the back of the net.
“We’ve dominated the second half. That’s all I can ask for in terms of how we go about it and showing a touch of a reaction from half-time.”
The result extended United’s unbeaten away run in the league to six games, but Wilder admitted the opening 45 minutes fell below what was expected.
“We were just a touch flat in the first half,” he said.
“Sometimes that happens in professional sport.
“It’s no disgrace to come here and be in a battle.
“We showed we were up for it, but we just needed to get that goal.
“I’m certain if we had got our noses in front we would have gone on to win the game.
“We didn’t, but give the opposition some credit.
“They are fighting for their lives and it was a dangerous game because they are due a win.”
United were forced into a change when Johnny Mullins injured his right ankle in an awkward fall on the stroke of half-time.
Although the defender returned for the second half, he was replaced by Ryan Williams within two minutes of the restart.
Mullins will be assessed by the club’s medical team today, but could be available for tomorrow night’s home game against Exeter City.
Wilder said: “I saw no benefits in him playing 45 minutes in the second half.
“He’s an important player to us and we don’t want to lose him.
“Hopefully we’ve nipped it in the bud with Johnny and he’ll be OK for Tuesday night.”
The U’s boss also revealed Deane Smalley felt something flare up in a knee during the warm-up, which is why the striker was not brought on.
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