Match Report vs Oxford United

Tuesday 17 March 1998 (Division One)

Team: Colgan, Swales, Davies, Primus, Legg, Parkie, Bernal, O'Neill (Houghton), Williams, Lovell, Lambert.

Words can not begin to describe tonight's attempt away at Oxford. We used to take pride in these type of games. Tonight it seemed only the fans seemed to care. We turned up in numbers for this one (considering our recent form), and until the second went in did the team proud with the support. But they couldn't return the favour. The fans didn't deserve a night like this.

We were shit. No, that's unfair. To shit. (After all shit performs wonders on grass) Oxford played us off the park with ease. It wasn't that they were particually brilliant. It was just we were so bad. Anyone could have beaten us last night. We were lucky to keep it down to just the three - although we have Colgan and that lanky Francis who was truely shit to thank for that.

As the game came to an end the "Bullivant Out" chants were louder than ever. A few left before the end but most stood in disbelief at the final whistle. A group of maybe 50 staged a sit down protest in the away terraces long after the final whistle. But most fans filtered out of the ground.

Another 50 fans decided to go mental as everyone poured out heading towards the main road. They weren't the "RDS" 18 year old lot who thought it would be hard to sit on the fence all the second half. In fact I don't know where they sprang from. But all of a sudden there was a group of Reading "supporters" going flat in riot mode out charging towards the Oxford supporters at the main road. All of a sudden they're running back again and I'm faced with bloody mounted police charging at me, huge dogs, and some bastard policeman attacking us with a bloody trunceon. Anyone who knows me will know I'm placid as anything too. Just walking back to the car and all of a sudden I'm getting attacked from all sides. Break through the police line, covering my colours, get a load of abuse from Oxford "supporters", and I thought the worst was over for the night. But no - Bullivant was on the radio giving an interview.

Well, we wouldn't have lost the game except we gave away "a silly first goal". NO! Bullivant! NO! We've heard it all before. But he continued: "you can't legislate for that". Again, Bullivant, NO! For f**k's sake think before you speak. A serious case of deja vu. Every game we're losing by three or four goals. It is NOT silly mistakes. You CAN legislate for it. You PLAY FOOTBALL. Except we don't. I'd have prefered the beating from the Oxford fans rather than listen to this shit.

Complete humiliation. We didn't manage a single shot on target for the entire 90 minutes. There was no passion, no tactics, no skill, no desire to win, no formation, no pride, no clue. We just didn't know what to do. Eleven men seemingly running and kicking the ball in an entirely random fashion is not going to keep us in Division One. O'Neill once again proved he is worse than a waste of space. Caskey meanwhile watched the game from the stand. Get him on the pitch.

If there were tactics they were: play the ball backwards along the floor, hoof it forward anywhere, keep on the defensive, leave the opposition plenty of space to play it around and get a shot in, play some hopeless back-passes and try and confuse the opposition by looking shit.

The last one of these worked for the first half anyway. Reading were so crap that they managed to bring Oxford down to their level. We had a couple of crosses in the first half, amazingly our better half. Once O'Neill decieded just not to make an effort. Another was our best, and only, real chance of taking the lead in the game. A nice move from the Reading left found Williams in the centre outside the box. Williams headed across into the path of Archie Lovell who had broken free into the box. Lovell's shot was disappointing though - with the keeper beaten his low shot went wide of the post.

Just as Reading had picked up a little bit Oxford delivered the killer blow - a goal on the stroke of half time. A long low ball across the field found the impressive Joey Beauchamp in acres of space. Beaucamp finished cooly putting the ball to Colgan's left and into the Reading net. 0-1 at half time. But we all knew it was over at that point. Still, it didn't stop the travelling fans urging their team on as the second half got underway.

But it was now all one way. Reading were never going anyway. The only question was how many were we going to conceede today then. You know that saying about an infinate number of monkeys coming up with the works of Shakespeare or something. Well I don't know why that's relevant but if this game had gone on forever we would have never scored. Oxford must have never had it so easy.

Their second goal came from a cross from the Oxford left. There was Beauchamp to volley in, again in acres of space, from inside the area. The third was when a cross found Francis wide on the Oxford right. He headed back and the resulting low dive made it 0-3. Colgan got his body in the way quite a few times to keep the score down. Bullivant singled Colgan out saying his injury (that stopped him kicking the ball) lost us the game. Bollocks. With Hammond in goal we'd have still been the same number down at full time.

No-one had good games. But O'Neill and Primus were particually shit. I didn't notice Parkie. Williams and Davies put in plenty of effort but didn't have a clue what to do. It's not that we have a bad team. We have some decent players, but we could have eleven Pele's out there and they still wouldn't work right together under this mangement set up. We're in an uncontrollable downward spiral. Nine defeats from ten games only makes me ask "how the hell did we win that game?"





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