REPORT: Oxford (A)
Notts County suffered their second defeat in a row as Oxford United came from behind to claim all three points from the Kassam Stadium.
Oxford United started the brightest, winning two corner kicks in the opening minute, but Notts County were equal to the threat and cleared.
With just three minutes on the clock, Notts picked up the first yellow card of the game. Julian Jenner was second to the ball, catching his marker after the ball had gone, the referee brandishing the yellow card.
Minutes later Adam Campbell almost got behind the defence, but the striker was denied an early goal on his debut as Jake Wright safely saw the ball back to the goalkeeper. Straight down the other end and Patrick Hoban almost found himself bearing down on goal but Thierry Audel recovered from an initial slip to slide in and win the ball.
On the ten minute mark the visitors had a big shout for a penalty turned down. Graham Burke and Liam Noble linked up neatly on the left, the latter crossing to Jon Stead who had got infront of his marker, and looked set to head County into the lead, before appearing to be pulled back, the referee waving away the appeals.
On 20 minutes Notts took the lead. Julian Jenner broke on the right and drew the foul from Joe Skarz. Jenner ran over the free kick leaving Graham Burke to deliver an inch perfect curling effort onto the head of Audel six yards out, who headed past Sam Slocombe in the United Yellows’ goal.
Both teams had bright attacks int he next ten minutes, without fashioning any goal scoring chances.
The visitors were starting to find their passing game and on the half hour mark almost scored a perfect passing move, Jon Stead firing narrowly over the bar from 20 yards.
Ten minutes before half time and the hosts were level. Play opened up for Oxford, the right winger crossing over both strikers and County centre backs to an unmarked Callum O’Dowda. Roy Carroll rushed out to the early substitute but couldn’t keep the strike out, the ball deflecting low off the ‘keeper and into the net.
Scot Bennett joined team mate Jenner in the referee’s notebook just before half time as he was beaten for pace by Kemar Roofe down the home side’s left, the centre back catching the winger and conceding the free kick.
With the last kick of the half Notts County almost retook the lead. Liam Noble and Blair Adams quickly exchanged passes, the midfielder turning and playing a crossfield ball to Gill Swerts who was surging down the right wing. The full back controlled the ball before sending over a deep cross which wrong footed Slocombe but sailed just past the far post.
Half Time Oxford United 1 Notts County 1
Five minutes into the second half and the home side completed the turn around. Goalscorer O’Dowda crossed low from the left, Bennett intercepted but the ball fell to Kemar Roofe who turned and slammed it past Carroll and into the top corner.
Oxford had chances to extend the lead, and they missed a golden chance seven minutes later. Danny Hylton ran unchallenged into the box before being checked, the referee having no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Alex MacDonald stepped up, sending the ball to Carroll’s right, only to see the Northern Irish international dive down low, getting a strong hand to the ball and keeping it out.
The home side laid siege on the Notts goal after this, a last ditch tackle from Bennett denying MacDonald Oxford’s third.
County were dangerous on the counter attack though, Adam Campbell’s low ball coming out to Liam Noble, the midfielder struck his shot low, the ball looping up of a defenders leg and Slocombe did well to tip it over the bar.
A frantic five minute spell, in which both sides had openings, was ended as O’Dowda curled a shot from the Oxford left which flew just wide of Carroll’s left hand post.
The hosts missed another big chance as the second period passed the halfway mark, Roofe heading Joe Skarz’s cross over, despite being unchallenged just five yards out.
As the game entered the last fifteen minutes, Roofe missed another big chance for the home side. O’Dowda found him free on the edge of the area, the midfielder allowed to stroll into the area but he fired his shot high over the bar.
Danny Hylton sealed the points for Oxford United with just over 10 minutes left on the clock. The striker picked the ball up on halfway, turned past Bennett before surging down the wing. The number 10 cut inside the defence before firing low, Carroll saved his initial shot but it came back to Hylton who fired high into the net.
Slocomobe reacted quickly to come off his line and deny Filip Valencic as the game entered the last minute, before Roy Carroll did well to recover down the other end and stop Liam Sercombe’s low drive.
Neither side could fashion a goal scoring chance in stoppage time, the referee blowing for full time, with Oxford taking all three points.
Full Time Oxford United 3 Notts County 1