Oxford United 0-0 York City: Match Report and Player Ratings

The Kassam Stadium hosted a very uninspiring game of football on Monday and the goalless draw was very much a statement of how the game played out.

Oxford United had overturned high-flyers Wycombe Wanderers just three days ago and had their tails held high coming into the Easter Monday encounter. York City however, had also seen an up-turn in form with a 4-1 win over Mansfield before beating Cheltenham 1-0 on Friday. Both sides had therefore seen a healthy gap appear away from the trap door as they met on Monday.

The first half was slow and laborious from both sides and neither team created a clear cut opportunity. United’s first real opening came through in-form Kemar Roofe. The West Brom loanee cleverly beat his man with inventive wing play and whipped in an enticing cross which flashed across goal inches away from the arriving Danny Rose. The closest York came was a wayward effort from Coulson and Vassell could only spoon an effort into the palms of Ingham for United. The game was certainly not helped by the whistle-happy referee. He was consistent. But consistently bad. This seriously deprived the game of fluidity and flow and this – helped by the sandy surface of the Kassam playing field – made the game incredibly tedious.

The second half was much the same. United came out of the starting blocks much better than the Minstermen and almost immediately after the restart, Joe Skarz found an opening after a scramble but prodded his improvised effort just wide. Oxford dominated possession from here on in but, although mounting a lot of pressure, did not seriously threaten the York goal. There were a barrage of crosses; most of which comfortably caught by Ingham as the final ball was very poor.

The best move of the game came on 77′ when Skarz centred for Hoban, who delicately cushioned the ball on his chest for Rose who volleyed just wide. It was not to be for either side as the game yet again died out and ultimately finished 0-0. The U’s will be disappointed to not take away three points but they have reached the 50 point mark and look to be safe from relegation. It will certainly be a warm-welcomed point by York who were under the cosh for large parts of the second half and although only six points from safety, the Minstermen look on course to maintaining Football League status next season.

Oxford United

 Ryan Clarke – Didn’t have a lot to do but was commanding in the air and helped cancel out the aerial threat York posed. 6.0
 George Baldock – Defensively solid but didn’t offer the attacking support that he usually provides. Perhaps a tactical tweak from Appleton to maintain defensive stability in this crucial part of the season 6.0
 Johnny Mullins – Was not phased by the aerial threat of York and held his own. He was not troubled too much but when called for he stepped up and did his job effectively. 6.5
 Jake Wright – selected as the Man of The Match by the match sponsors but, much like Mullins, was largely untroubled. He did however make a couple of impressive last-ditch tackles to cancel out the lively Couthirst. 7.0
 Joe Skarz – Very consistent and handled Halliday with ease. Could have grabbed a winner early in the second half but it was not to be. 7.0
 Alex MacDonald – I have seen more passion and drive in a pre-season match. Seemed to wander around like a befuddled pheasant and offered no forward support. I’d be surprised if he keeps his starting place against Wimbledon. 4.0
 Michael Collins – Engaged himself in a frustrating midfield battle. He seemed to lack composure at times, which is not like him, and his dispatch going forward was below par. 5.0
 Josh Ruffels – Much like Collins he struggled finding a forward pass ( a familiar characteristic of this midfield pairing) which ultimately slowed the game down and made it comfortable for York 5.0
 Danny Rose – Rose has been undisputedly Oxford’s best player in the last two outings but seemed to struggle against York. He showed glimpses of form but the game passed him too often. 6.0
 Kyle Vassell – Did not offer anything at all upfront. He was dominated in the air and the physicality got the better of him. Poor performance from Vassell. 5.0
 Kemar Roofe – Another stand-out in recent performances, Roofe has been on fire. He was undoubtedly most effective when he drifted out wide and i’m clueless to why Appleton started him as a striker following his performance wide-right against Wycombe. He showed glimpses of flair and was involved a lot. Good performance from Roofe. 7.0

Substitutions

 Danny Hylton – Offered so much more than Vassell who had a tricky afternoon. He was involved a lot and caused problems during his cameo appearance but could not influence a win 6.5
 Pat Hoban – Hoban showed fantastic hold-up play and was very lively since coming on. His physical stature was much needed and he almost bagged himself a goal 6.5
 Callum O’Dowda – Could not muster any influence in his brief cameo role. Lively but ineffectual – needed more time to mould into the game 6.0

 

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York City

 Michael Ingham – Was comfortable throughout and was effective when needed. It seemed like catching practice for the Minsterman as all he really did was catch failed crosses. 6.0
 Keith Lowe – Commanding and dealt with Vassell and Hoban very well. 6.0
 Dave Winfield – The experienced sweeper was successful in the air and showed good composure under pressure during the second half. 6.5
 John McCombe – Defensively sound and stepped up when called for. It was a tricky proposition containing Roofe but he did it impeccably. 7.0
 Bradley Halliday – Had a difficult afternoon on the wide-left and didn’t get involved too much. At times he showed good link-up play with Coulthirst but was mostly ineffectual. 5.0
 Russell Penn – Endured in a physical battle with Collins and Ruffels and perhaps got the better of them both. He was terrier-like in midfield and wasn’t afraid to use his body. A good feature to have in League Two when used correctly. 7.0
 Luke Summerfield – Was not as involved as much as his counterpart but showed good energy in a pretty much stagnant midfield. 6.0
 Stephane Zubar – The strong wing back was solid defensively but offered almost nothing going forward which is expected as a wing-back. 5.5
 Michael Coulson – Certainly lively but failed to get into the game as much as he would have liked. Tricky afternoon for Coulson. 6.0
 Jake Hyde – Didn’t offer enough as a striker. His off-the-ball movement was a bit stagnant and he failed to trouble the U’s defence. 6.0
 Shaquille Coulthirst – Was very lively and tricky at times. He caused a few problems with his liveliness but was ultimately cut off by Wright or Mullins 7.0

Substitutions

Tom Platt – Didn’t muster any inspiration to grab a late winner but did his duty well in his cameo appearance. 6.0

 

Man of the Match

Kemar Roofe – The West Brom loanee was dazzling going forward and seemed the only player on the pitch with any confidence. Certainly not his best display but he stood out in what was a very flat affair. 7.0
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