Oxford were the hosts to Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday in a game that some would argue is a local southern derby. Oxford entered this tie on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Carlisle United which ended United’s best week of the season on a relatively low note.

Wycombe however entered after being held by Dagenham and Redbridge at home, letting the top spot of League Two slip to high-flyers Luton Town. The first half started with both sides seeing a lot of the ball and a few half chances being created. The first fell to Matt Bloomfield on the edge of the box but the chance was smothered out by the young loanee Holmes-Dennis, who blocked emphatically. The fiery start continued as on 10 minutes an innocuous elbow by Mawson on Whing saw referee Tim Robinson brandish the first yellow card of the afternoon. On 16′ Oxford’s Hylton beat the offside trap before checking inside and forcing a comfortable save from Ingram. The first goal came on 35′ after Hylton was tripped in the box leaving the League 2 top scorer to smash home from 12 yards. The rest of the half played out and Oxford went in to the half time break deservedly 1-0 up.

In the second half Oxford failed to sprint out of the starting blocks. On came Ephraim who made an instant impact putting in a very good cross before an edge of the box scramble saw the ball bounce to Paul Hayes who smashed home beyond the onrushing Clarke. This levelled the scoring and from there on in, Wycombe were dominant and fluent. Their quick movement tore Oxford apart and on 62′ the tables were turned as the unmarked Murphy powered a header into the top left hand corner. 2-1 the scoreline read and United crumbled to the Chairboys second half response. Wycombe continued to press Oxford but no real chances were created by either side but a lifeline was given to Oxford when Callum O’Dowda was shoved in the back and another penalty was awarded to the U’s. Up stepped Hylton again but the pressure proved too much and he saw his effort sail high over the bar and into the car park. This was the epitome of a bad afternoon for United which rang out to a chorus of grumbles, boos and some calling for Michael Appleton’s head. This was a fantastic win for Wycombe and sees them retain their good form after 0 wins in 2 and Ainsworth’s men will be very happy with a result in their self-branded derby game.

 

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Oxford United

 Ryan Clarke – Clarke was not at fault for either Wycombe goal and was not often called upon other than these two strikes. He was comfortable from crosses and commanding but will be disappointed with this result. 6.5
 Joe Riley – Dispatch was fairly poor and often took up positions too attacking for his own good leaving the channels exposed. One to forget for Riley. 5.5
 Johnny Mullins – Mullins was one of United’s better performers but his marking was poor for the second goal and this lead to Wycombe’s winner. 5.5
 Jake Wright – Wright had sold game preventing the experienced Paul Hayes. It was only due to a scramble that lead to the ball falling to the centre forward but he did well to keep him quiet for the time he did. 6.5
 Tareiq Holmes-Dennis – The Charlton Athletic loanee had an extremely good first had, showing maturity and ruthlessness. However he was a lot quieter in the second half and he seemed to lose his confidence after Hayes’ equaliser. 7.0
 Michael Collins – One of United’s most consistent performers this season was not up to his usual standard as his dispatch was not up to scratch and he was bossed in midfield. A game he has to build upon. 6.0
 Andy Whing – Showed the charisma in which the team lacked but this did not seem to transpire onto anyone else on the Oxford side. Solid performance from Whing bar his dispatch 7.0
 Danny Hylton – Went from hero to zero in the space of an hour after he scored then missed penalties but his work-rate once again was exceptional. 7.0
 Danny Rose – Rose’ first half performance showed grit and determination and he helped balance th3 midfield. However in the second half he seemed to shy away from the physical side of the game and this enabled Wycombe to expose and infiltrate Oxford 6.5
 Alfie Potter – Potter was quiet and never really got going in the 70 minutes that he was on for. He was duly substituted after a poor performance. 5.0
 Tyrone Barnett – Barnett had a good first half linking up very well with Rose and Hylton but his second half performance was not even a fraction of what we saw from him in the first. He did not chase anything nor challenge in the air which frustrated the home supporters 5.5

Substitutions

 James Roberts – Roberts came on for Potter and he was lively and sharp. He perhaps should have done better with one chance he had but Ingram saved well. 6.5
 Callum O’Dowda – also lively when he came on but he seemed t run himself into trouble too often. However he looked destined to score a dramatic late equaliser before being shoved over, only for Hylton to blast over 6.5
0.0

 

Wycombe Wanderers

 Matt Ingram – Ingram made a couple of smart saves but did not have an awful lot to do. 7.5
 Sido Jombati – Jombati did well to contain Potter and linked up well in the second half with Ephraim 7.0
 Joe Jacobson – Was found guilty of tripping Hylton to give away a penalty but overall had a solid game 7.5
 Alfie Mawson – Somewhat innocuously elbowed Andy Whing but had a very good game defensively after that. 7.5
 Aaron Pierre – Struggled slightly against Hylton in the first half but found his feet in the second and overall put in a good shift 6.5
 Matt Bloomfield – Had a very god game indeed and helped boss the midfield in the second half. Duly awarded with the full three points 8.0
 Peter Murphy – The scorer of the Chairboys second and ultimate match winner topped off a highly impressive second half performance 8.0
 Josh Scowen – proved pivotal in midfield in this highly contested match and adapted well to the physical demands of the game as well. 7.5
 Sam Wood – Winger was lively and showed good determination and drive. Good performance. 7.0
 Steven Craig – Was lively but did not make a substantial impact while he was on the pitch. 6.0
 Paul Hayes – Scored the goal which sparked the comeback hitch topped an impressive performance. 7.5

Substitutions

 Hogan Ephraim – Made an instant impact by being a provider for Hayes’ goal almost as soon as he came on. The tricky winger showed desire and passion which resulted in a very good performance. 7.5
 Max Kretzschmar – Wasn’t on long enough to make a substantial impact 5.0
 Daniel Rowe – Wasn’t on long enough to make a substantial impact 5.0

 

Man of the Match

Danny Hylton – Despite missing a last minute penalty he showed excellent work ethic and desire which the rest of the team was lacking. Also bagged his 12th goal of the season 7.0


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.