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  • "
    Sid Snakey wrote:
    Hugely, hugely disappointing.

    It's the manner of the two defeats that is so troubling.

    Those players will have gone from believing they were worthy of top spot, to now questioning in their own minds whether they are good enough to compete with the best in the division.

    It seems we simply cannot play well at home, teams know we can be out-fought in the middle of the park, they know we can be pressed deep, so we are going to have to rely on our away form to take us up.

    In these two games I have gone from really believing we could do it this season, to doubting whether we will even make the play-offs.

    And of course, the disappointment of putting on a poor show to the Boxing Day crowd. Oh the frustration.
    Well said Sid. Away from home with the opposition attacking us we are able to take advantage of the space that makes. Our usual solid defence has held and we have been able to score.
    Those sides who have worked out that if they press us and close us down quickly, they will stifle us. Both Plymouth and Scunthorpe had two and even three defenders on our forwards when they had the ball. Our midfield playing deep left the forwards isolated and were unable to create space. They resorted to over the top high balls which were often misjudged and when Constable and Smalley got one, they were unable to find each other.
    No bystander would believe we had two wingers on the park.
    These are tactics which we consistently fail to work out.
    Finally we gave away the ball so easily, hardly ever won a loose one and never put them under pressure."
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Wilder blasts woeful Oxford United

A dejected Deane Smalley holds his head in disappointment after seeing his penalty saved by Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe during yesterday’s 2-0 defeat

A dejected Deane Smalley holds his head in disappointment after seeing his penalty saved by Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe during yesterday’s 2-0 defeat

First published in Headlines

A furious Chris Wilder tore into his Oxford United players, and admitted they were lucky to lose only 2-0 against Scunthorpe United.

The U’s have won plenty of plaudits for their resilient streak, which had taken them top of Sky Bet League Two, but it deserted them in a woeful display yesterday, which began badly and only got worse.

Deon Burton was allowed to head in the opener unmarked, and although the striker had a penalty saved before the break and missed a one-on-one in the second half, the Iron still cruised to victory.

David Syers doubled the lead and an awful afternoon for the hosts was completed when Deane Smalley had a penalty saved late on.

Wilder pulled no punches in his assessment.

“We didn’t deserve anything from the game. It was by far and away our poorest performance this season,” the United manager said.

Oxford Mail:

Scunthorpe striker David Syers races through to lob stranded United goalkeeper Ryan Clarke

“We’ve escaped, to be fair – I think they deserved to win by a couple more at least.

“If the (Smalley) penalty had gone in and we had got something out of the game it would have been an absolute travesty, because we were second best all afternoon.

“We made poor decisions, gifted their goal with a poor clearance – and the second one was another mistake.

“They played like the home side, we made poor decisions in every part of the game.”

The defeat rounded off a bad few days for United, who lost 3-2 at home to Plymouth Argyle on Boxing Day.

It was the first time they have lost successive league games since April and dropped to fifth as a result – their lowest position of the season.

Wilder was particularly concerned by the lack of spirit, which has been a feature of the campaign to date.

He said: “Mentally we looked, especially in the last 15 minutes, really sorry for ourselves, which is not like us.”

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