Oxford United 0 – 1 Burton Albion

Oxford were beaten by a resilient Burton side with the impressive Lucas Akins grabbing the only goal of the game. The game started off with the U’s having the upper hand and chances from Ruffels and Potter were saved well by McLaughlin, denying Oxford an early brace. Burton were quiet throughout the majority of the first half but the lively Stuart Beavon wriggled past the Oxford defence to square for Lucas Akins who prodded home into the open net. The tactics from Burton were obvious from then on. The Brewers set out to defend and made it very difficult for the U’s to penetrate through their two banks of four and their resilience and determination meant that they were able to hold off the relatively uninspired Oxford.

Oxford United

George Long – The U’s debutante had very little to do other than a smart save in the first half and the goal was done to defensive areas other than his own. The youngster stepped up to the plate when needed and despite conceding he played well 7.0
Joe Riley – Another debutante for the U’s was Joe Riley. He did little wrong and supported Potter on the right flank well. Riley was also very solid defensively too. 7.0
Michael Raynes – Raynes was taken off after 40 minutes after sustaining an injury after a heavy collision. During his time on the pitch however he was largely at fault for the Akins goal as he was dragged out of position by Beavon allowing him to square for Akins 5.0
Jake Wright – Wright was a doubt beforehand as he sustained an ankle injury in preseason however he looked to be fully fit and made the starting XI. Wright had an impressive, but largely unchallenged game from the Burton forwards. 7.5
Tom Newey – Newey seemed to play with no confidence whatsoever and that was not helped by the Oxford fans. He misplaced passes and was caught out of possession countless times. Poor performance from him. 4.0
Michael Collins – Michael Collins brought composure into the team and dispatched nicely with a high pass completion rate. He was also awarded the official Man of The Match award by Oxford United sponsors. 8.5
Josh Ruffels – Ruffels looked fairly average however he seemed the only United player to be brave enough to take shots. He forced a good save in the opening minutes and hit the side netting in the final five which was the only half chances Oxford had. 7.0
Alfie Potter – Potter squandered two very good chances in the first half which he should have buried attacking from the wing, however he was moved into the number 10 role in the second half where he was almost non existent. 6.0
Danny Rose – Rose had a decent game and increased the pace in the final third. His newly adapted attacking midfielder role allowed him to get on the ball more than last season and he played a lot better. 7.5
Junior Brown – Looked very good on the ball and his link up play was pleasing to watch. He also demonstrated good vision by dispatching a good pass to Newey, who unfortunately was unable to cross. However he did not seem to hold up play very well as his typical winger physique hindered him slightly. 7.0
Carlton Morris – He held up play very nicely and despite only being a teenager, the debutante played with an essence of maturity. He made three or four fantastic unselfish runs to open up space for Rose and Potter, however a quiet second half let him down slightly. 7.0

Substitutions

Johnny Mullins – Mullins could only make the bench after obtaining a dead leg midweek but he was soon thrown into the action after Raynes’ injury and he had very little to do due to Burton’s negative set-up. 7.0
Danny Hylton – Hylton had bags of energy and that seemed to motivate the U’s. He made one fantastic run passed three or four Burton players but could not find that yard of space to get the shot way. 7.0
Callum O’Dowda – Callum didn’t get an awful lot of the ball which was a shame as his trickery may have undone the strong Brewers defence. 6.0

Burton Albion

John McLaughlin – McLaughlin pulled off a fantastic save from a close range header from Potter to deny Oxford and commanded his box well making it difficult for the tall Morris to infiltrate. 8.0
Phil Edwards – Edwards did well to prevent Junior Brown causing any troubles. Very solid performance from him indeed. 8.0
Ian Sharpes – The central defender played more as a sweeper playing very deep which made it a tough day for United’s attack to get in behind. Good performance from him. 8.0
George Taft – Taft, alongside Sharpes, held the line very well and won almost every aerial contest. However a lack of concentration left him a yard behind Morris who, fortunately for Taft, could not direct his header towards goal. 7.5
Callum McFadzean – McFadzean had a strong game as he made it tough for the United midfield to penetrate. He was very influential in the Burton side. 7.5
Lucas Akins – The powerful winger had an impressive game frequently causing danger down Burton’s right flank. He was instrumental throughout the game and he scored the winner to top an already impressive performance. 9.0
John Mousinho – John Mousinho played full of confidence and never looked troubled by Oxford’s midfield. Good performance by him. 7.5
Robbie Weir – Weir, alongside Mousinho, played with a relaxed attitude and this composure caused a few problems for Oxford as it made it difficult for them to win back possession 7.0
Alex McDonald – The Brewer’s tricky winger never really got going in the first half and Burton’s tactics in the second half made it difficult to for him to express himself. However, despite this he still had a good game 6.5
Dominic Knowles – Had a lively game but could have done more in the final third. 6.5
Stuart Beavon – Beavon had a brilliant game. He was lively and ambitious and certainly got the Brewer’s fans off their feet. All of this was topped off with an assist following a fantastic run from the centre forward. 8.5

Substitutions

Billy Key – Had very few touches when he came on so nothing to add. 5.0
Adam McGurk – Didn’t do an awful lot when he was on but was positioned well and looked lively 6.0
Matt Palmer – Did well when he came on and his fresh legs made it a struggle for Oxford. 6.5

 

Man of the Match

Michael Collins – his composure helped settle the team down and his passing was pivotal out to the wings. He created a few good chances with his vision and helped optimise United’s width, 8.5

 


About Author

Aspiring sports journalist from Oxford. Also a lifelong supporter and season ticket holder of Oxford United. My job here is to supply brief match reports and player ratings of Oxford United players and the teams they oppose.