CHRIS Wilder bemoaned Oxford United’s inability to kill games off as they drew 2-2 at home to Torquay United yesterday.
For the second game in a row the U’s were hit with a late goal, as goalkeeper Ryan Clarke – struggling with a rib injury – could only palm Taiwo Atieno’s shot into the net to give the ten-man visitors a share of the spoils.
A draw was scant consolation for the home side, who played exhilarating football for much of the second half.
Adam Chapman and Cristian Montano scored in quick succession to turn a half-time deficit into a 2-1 lead, but a lack of killer instinct to finish the game off was crucial.
United’s boss said: “That’s how it is if you don’t put teams to bed, because that should have been 5-1.
“Fair play to Torquay, they showed a bit of resilience at the end, but that really should’ve been out of sight going into the last ten minutes.”
There were a few boos from the home fans at the final whistle, but although United have picked up just a single point from the last three games, they remain in the npower League Two play-off positions.
Wilder felt the performance showed there was plenty to be optimistic about heading into the last four games.
He said: “You’ll always get moans and groans, but I can’t really do anything when a back pass goes short and then the keeper chucks one in.
“All we can do is try to encourage the players. I thought they were magnificent in the second half. Some of the play was absolutely outstanding.”
Wilder will hope Clarke has recovered from his injury for Saturday’s crunch home clash with Gillingham.
But there were no fitness concerns over a below-par James Constable, who was replaced at half-time by Scott Rendell for purely tactical reasons.
Wilder said: “I thought Scotty gave us a massive lift.
“I made a change because I didn’t think he (Constable) gave us anything in the first half, Scott gave us everything else.”