Oxford United missed out on a place in the Championship with defeat against Wycombe Wanderers, with mistakes proving costly for the U’s.
Karl Robinsons side also failed to take their chances and make their possession count against an organised opposition.
Mistakes, Failed Chances and Organised Opponents – How Oxford United Lost to Wycombe Wanderers
Ultimately, mistakes cost the U’s in this game. Wycombe’s first goal should have been dealt with. Oxford were well aware of Joe Jacobson’s danger from set-pieces, and Simon Eastwood flapped at the ball but was out of position as Anthony Stuart headed home the opener.
The second goal was a series of errors. Firstly, it came against the run of play. The U’s were on top in the game having scored 15 minutes earlier. But, when Marcus Browne appealed that the ball had crossed the line for an Oxford throw deep in the Wycombe half, he stopped, which allowed the Chairboys to continue. Goalkeeper Ryan Allsop pumped the ball long, but it looked harmless. The second mistake came when a miscommunication between defender Elliott Moore and Eastwood allowed Fred Onyedinma in on goal. The winger was clattered by an on-rushing Eastwood who was out of control.
The U’s may have only had five shots on target, but 13 attempts and 75 per cent possession should have seen the U’s progress. Ironically, their best chance wasn’t even a shot. With the game poised at 1-1 with the U’s netting a second-half equaliser, Karl Robinson’s side had their tails up. A ricochet fell to James Henry in the box, one on one with Allsop, but he decided to square the ball towards Matty Taylor rather than shoot. His pass was cut out by Stewart.
The chances Robinson’s men were presented with weren’t that great, either. In the first half, Browne let fly from range on two occasions, with both sailing over, while Taylor met a cross with his head but couldn’t generate any power. The best chance came to Rob Dickie from a corner, but he was expertly denied by Allsop.
Despite conceding the most goals in the top six, even the 11, Wycombe were well organised. As soon as Oxford, a possession-based side that like to pass and move had the ball, the Chairboys put bodies behind the ball.
Oxford struggled to breakthrough. On the rare times they did get out wide and break the lines, Wycombe were organised in the middle and cut out any possible threat. Even the U’s goal was fortuitous, with Mark Sykes’s cross sailing in over Allsop.
What Robinson Thought
Speaking to the clubs’ official website, he said: “I’m extremely proud of them as you can well imagine. We were done by an early goal that you might expect to come from the opposition but the longer the game went I thought our players played wonderfully well but missed some important chances at key moments.
“Congratulations to Wycombe but for me, we probed and just didn’t take our chances. The mistakes that we made were what cost us.
“The goals we conceded will stay with me and the second one was like slow motion. If Marcus Browne doesn’t ask for the throw-in then he is in on goal, then one long ball, something we spoke about, and we were punished.”