Oxford United’s week has been another one of highs and lows. Having won their last three games in succession, the U’s then lost out on Tuesday night against AFC Wimbledon but made a swift return to the top six with a win over Plymouth Argyle on Saturday. Oxford’s playoff hopes are very much alive after sides around them also dropped points this week.
Oxford United Weekly Round-Up: Oxford’s Playoff Hopes Still Alive
Defeat Against the Dons
Oxford headed to Plough Lane on Tuesday night in devastating form. The U’s had won their last three fixtures, scoring 13 goals in the process. However, AFC Wimbledon had also won their previous three games, scoring 12, to ease their relegation worries.
As expected, Oxford looked the livelier side and broke the deadlock seven minutes after the break when left-back Josh Ruffels slotted home his seventh goal of the season.
But, shortly after, the U’s produced two minutes of madness and saw themselves behind. First, James Henry handled the ball on the line, resulting in a red card for the U’s midfielder and a penalty to the hosts, which Joe Pigott converted. One minute later, the visitors fell behind after they gave the ball away cheaply before an effort from Alex Woodyard deflected in past Jack Stevens.
The U’s were unable to produce a late comeback, as they did last time out against Gillingham, and fell out of the top six as a result.
On Wednesday, Oxford were dealt a double blow ahead of the game at home against Plymouth. With James Henry suspended, manager Karl Robinson confirmed that Brandon Barker would remain sidelined and influential midfielder Cameron Brannagan was likely to miss the game, although he would later start at the weekend.
Oxford’s Playoff Hopes Rekindled With Win Over Plymouth
Following the Dons defeat, the U’s know that they need to win all remaining three fixtures to have a chance of finishing in the playoffs. On Saturday, they got one out of the way with a win over Plymouth.
Robinson’s side dominated the first half and took the lead after half hour when Joe Edwards headed into his own net from an Elliot Lee free-kick.
However, Plymouth looked more controlled after the break and levelled through Niall Ennis. Fortunately for the U’s, they regained their lead just minutes later when Matty Taylor tucked home Mark Sykes’ cross.
Taylor added his second and Oxford’s third late on to secure the win. With Blackpool and Lincoln City suffering defeats, the playoffs are now wide open. Oxford have moved up to fifth and are level on 68 points with the Seasiders and Portsmouth, but both teams have games in hand on the U’s.
Milk Cup Anniversary
Despite the defeat on Tuesday, many Oxford fans would have been reminiscing about their Milk Cup success, which happened 35 years ago on that day.
It was a first trip to Wembley for the yellow army and it was also the clubs first major honour after beating Queens Park Rangers 3-0 in the final showdown.
Seen by many as Oxford’s greatest ever achievement, their League Cup success stays etched in their history.