CHRIS Wilder refused to be downbeat after Oxford United’s 3-1 defeat at Crewe on Saturday.

And the U’s boss said that the loss was hard to take after the manner of his side’s performance.

Wilder had been critical of his team a week earlier after they failed to beat ten-man Aldershot.

He was full of praise for their display on Saturday, but admitted that it was their lack of clinicalness in front of goal that was the downfall.

United trailed 2-0 at half-time, but it was all one-way traffic after the break as Wilder’s side looked for a way back into the game.

They were hit by a sucker punch midway through the half when Crewe scored with their only real attack of the second period, but despite Liam Davis’s 77th-minute header, United left empty-handed.

“I’ve never been involved in a game like that since I have been at the football club,” Wilder said.

“Even at 3-0 down and then at 3-1, I never felt out of the game at all, I always thought we could get something out of it.

“We started really well, were comfortable in possession and were more positive than we have been over the last couple of games, which we had talked about.

“The first goal was unfortunate. It deflects off Jake (Wright) and then Dubes (Michael Duberry) makes a great saving tackle where the ball falls for the boy who slams it in.

“The second one the boys are saying was a touch offside, but it was a mad five minutes where we found ourselves really in a game and on the front foot to 2-0 down.

“In the second half they have one attack and they score.”

The U’s were missing James Constable in attack, and his absence through injury – along with that of Peter Leven who was at the birth of his child – was key.

“We have got to keep getting into those positions,” Wilder said.

“But you’re right in terms of we have to do better (in front of goal).

“I was more happy than last week where I didn’t think we got into those positions.

“Alfie (Potter) on another day could have had four.”