Oxford United started the week with a busy transfer deadline day but ended it with their first defeat in 13 games with a 3-2 defeat at Doncaster Rovers.
On Tuesday night, Karl Robinson’s made history after recording a club record ninth successive win all competitions. Here is the Oxford United weekly round-up.
Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: Transfer Deadline Day, Club Records and Defeat in Doncaster
Transfer Deadline Day
There is only one place to start and that is Monday’s transfer deadline day. The U’s had a quiet January transfer window, which included just one arrival in the shape of 21-year-old central defender Luke McNally. As far as outgoings go, Sean Clare joined Burton Albion on loan while Jordan Obita signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Wycombe Wanderers.
However, deadline day brought plenty of excitement for Oxford fans with three top additions. Firstly, the U’s brought in Blackburn Rovers defender Joe Grayson on loan. The 21-year-old, who captained Blackburn’s U23 side, will be strong cover for Rob Atkinson or Elliott Moore should either become injured or pick up a suspension.
The club followed that signing with the addition of Elliot Lee on loan from Luton Town. The 26-year-old has vast amounts of experience in League One and was part of the Hatters side that secured promotion to the Championship. The forward, who can play on either flank or as a number ten, has an eye for goal and can influence the game from several positions.
Finally, the U’s added highly-rated Rangers winger Brandon Barker. Also on loan, the 24-year-old will inject pace and trickery down either wing – an asset that manager Karl Robinson was desperate to acquire. The former Manchester City youngster impressed during loan spells at Preston North End and in Scotland before joining the Gers on a permanent basis.
The final activity on deadline day saw French forward Derick Osei Yaw depart to join Walsall on loan until the end of the current campaign.
Record-Breaking Oxford United
On Tuesday night, the U’s faced AFC Wimbledon in the Football League Trophy. Having equalled a club record eight successive wins against Fleetwood Town – their first victory over the Cod Army in 13 attempts – Oxford would go on to break it against the Dons. The record had stood since 1982/83 and was set by the late Jim Smith.
The evening was all the more enjoyable after summer signing Sam Winnall finally opened his U’s account. The striker has had an injury-hit tenure since his arrival at the start of the season.
Doncaster Defeat for the U’s
To extend the winning run to ten games would have been difficult, but it was made more so by the opponents the U’s would face.
Both sides headed into the game with 24 points from their last ten games. Oxford were unbeaten in 13 and had won their last nine in all competitions, while Donny had won eight of their last nine league fixtures, drawing the other.
Oxford fell behind despite a positive start but headed into the break level after Sam Long netted his third goal of the season.
But two goals in the opening five minutes of the second half put the hosts in control and gave Oxford a mountain to climb. Although Mide Shodipo reduced the deficit, the U’s were unable to find an equaliser, despite being denied what looks like a clear penalty late on.
Oxford are now six points off the playoffs but face two teams in the bottom five next week with matches against Bristol Rovers and Wigan Athletic respectively.