THE dust has very much settled on Oxford United’s 2022/23 campaign – a memorable season but for all the wrong reasons.

After taking over as the Oxford Mail sports reporter in September, despite the sluggish start to the season, I was still hopeful that the U’s could replicate what they had done in recent years, and make a bolt for the play-offs.

How wrong I would be on that one.

In the first of two season reviews, I took a look at how United got on up until the end of 2022.

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The new campaign began with a renewed sense of optimism, helped by a reminder of the beauty that is Sky Bet League One on the opening weekend.

Although the U’s lost 1-0 away at Derby County, the trip to Pride Park set the bar for some of the tantalising away days that the third tier offers.


Tyler Goodrham announced himself as one to watch for the U’s with an injury time winner at home to Cambridge United.

The lovely solo effort from the teenager wouldn’t be the last moment of brilliance that the bright spark would offer during the season.

A penalty shoot-out win against Championship side Swansea City in the Carabao Cup further lifted early belief among United fans, before things took a turn for the worse.

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Defeats to Bristol Rovers and Lincoln City, plus a home draw with Morecambe, dampened spirits.

United then went toe-to-toe with Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace in the second round of the Carabao Cup, before Cameron Brannagan’s double won the U’s all three points at Cheltenham Town.

A 5-0 hammering of Leyton Orient in the Papa John’s Trophy rounded off a topsy-turvy first full month of the season.

Oxford Mail: Tyler Goodrham celebrates his winning goal against Cambridge United. Picture: David FlemingTyler Goodrham celebrates his winning goal against Cambridge United. Picture: David Fleming


The first international break of the campaign meant United played only three games in September, while off the pitch events dwarfed matters on it.

Inconsistency continued with a win against Burton Albion followed by losses to Plymouth Argyle and MK Dons.

On September 27, the protracted change of ownership was completed as Indonesian investors Anindya Bakrie and Erick Thohir finalised a deal which saw them take a controlling 51 per cent stake in the U’s.

The positivity which radiated from the boardroom failed to materialise on the playing side of things though.


My ‘United debut’ in 2022/23 was largely forgettable as Karl Robinson’s side left Charlton Athletic with a 1-1 draw.

Then followed a late defeat to Chelsea Under-21s in the Papa John’s and a loss to Wycombe Wanderers.

The 4-2 win at Exeter City was arguably the best performance under Robinson this season with Kyle Joseph’s brace among one of the better individual displays of the campaign.

Three days later, a strong side was beaten and knocked out the Papa John’s at fourth tier Sutton United.

Red cards then let the U’s down against Peterborough United and Portsmouth.

Matty Taylor tangled with Posh defender Ronnie Edwards five minutes after Billy Bodin had pulled it back to 2-1, and a comeback failed to come about.

Then at Fratton Park, Bodin picked up a second booking with less than 20 minutes to go and United holding a 1-0 lead.

Seven minutes later, Colby Bishop punished the U’s 10 men, who held on for a point.

A 3-1 win at Bolton Wanderers changed the mood once again as United showed they could compete with the sides at the top.


Draws against Fleetwood Town and Shrewsbury Town were notable respectively for Gatlin O’Donkor’s first U’s goal and a nasty injury for Joseph.

United sprung back to life at home to Port Vale, with Bodin and Taylor redeeming themselves with doubles in a 4-0 win.

Goodrham scored the winner as Woking put up a strong fight in the Emirates FA Cup, with Exeter beaten in the second round 10 days later, while a forgettable draw against Forest Green Rovers was sandwiched in the middle.


The calendar year ended with draws against Accrington Stanley and Sheffield Wednesday, prior to a chastening 3-0 battering at Ipswich Town on Boxing Day, when the scoreline could in fact have been much higher.

In typical fashion for the season, United bounced back with a 3-1 win at home to Charlton, in a game which saw complete and utter domination from the U’s in the first half.

Come the end of January though, more progress off the pitch would be matched by an unravelling on it.

Part two of this season review will be published on Monday.

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About the author

To sign up to Liam’s latest Oxford United newsletter for free, click here:

Formerly the politics reporter for the Oxford Mail, Liam now covers all things Oxford United.

Liam attends the U’s home and away, as well as covering other big sports stories across the county.

His Oxford United newsletter is released every Saturday morning at 6am.