DCSIMG

Jefferson Lake’s Oxford view and player ratings: Town lacking cutting edge

DAY TO FORGET - Clarke Carlisle struggled against Oxford, and was sent-off late in the game (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

DAY TO FORGET - Clarke Carlisle struggled against Oxford, and was sent-off late in the game (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

 

The game that ended the Cobblers’ winning streak was a bizarre one that frustrated and puzzled supporters of the club in equal measure.

Aidy Boothroyd made a comment in his post-match assessment about possession being a very fashionable thing in football these days, an observation made after a performance that saw his players have the ball for the vast majority of the afternoon.

This wasn’t quite a mismatch of possession on Celtic-Barcelona levels even if the scoreline was the same.

In fact, it wasn’t really close to that but it does serve as a reminder that it’s all very well and good having the ball as long as you do something with it.

What was essentially missing for the Cobblers at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday was their end product.

Their wide attacking players were not direct enough, and it was only when Clive Platt was introduced that they really started to work the Oxford keeper.

Platt’s arrival meant Chris Hackett was shifted to the right wing and if ever there was a player who is direct, and who has an end product, it is Hackett.

On countless occasions he beat his marker and either crossed the ball or fired it goalwards, but he either found the keeper in good form or the shot slightly mistimed.

On another occasion one or two of these attempts would have nestled in the top corner - but this was not a hard luck story.

Instead, it was one about a team who were maybe playing a game too many and whose cutting edge was not as razor sharp as it has been in previous games.

Perhaps the money used to finance the return of Clarke Carlisle, whose lack of pace saw him badly exposed for the foul that sealed his sending-off, would have been better spent enhancing options at the other end of the field.

Ratings

LEE NICHOLLS

Conditions were against him but dealt with the slippery ball reasonably well ...6

BEN TOZER

Stuck to the basics and got caught a little square on the second goal ...6

KELVIN LANGMEAD

Tried to rally those around him and negated Constable to good effect ...7

CLARKE CARLISLE

Tired rapidly in the second half and dismissal was a result of this ...5

DANNY EAST

Did well defensively on the left, found things slightly tricky when attacking ...6

JAKE ROBINSON

A couple of excellent early breaks but influence diminished as the game went on ...6

LEWIS HORNBY

One of his hardest assignments yet but came through it with more credit ...7

BEN HARDING

Did the ugly stuff very well and joined in attacks to good effect ...7

ISHMEL DEMONTAGNAC

Booking for a pull of the shirt after some lazy running seemed to sum up his afternoon ...5

CHRIS HACKETT

Another virtuoso display, covered miles of ground and filled his game with crosses and shots ...8

ADEBAYO AKINFENWA

Found himself isolated at times but looked a lot better when he had Platt alongside him for company ...6

Substitutes:

CLIVE PLATT (for Demontagnac 61mins)

Added gusto to the attack and his introduction sparked a long spell of pressure. Took his goal excellently ...7

Not used: Snedker, Charles, Moult, Mukendi, Huws

 

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