Beano leads Oxford to Northampton win

Article by George Dugdale Saturday, October 12th, 2013  

Oxford United 2 Northampton Town 0

James Constable provided the inspiration for Oxford United as two late first half goals gave Chris Wilder’s side a first home win since August 10th. Constable fired home from inside the box in the 44th minute, before winning a penalty for Danny Rose to convert only minutes later.

Jake Wright’s return to fitness – coupled with a miserable run of home form – prompted Wilder to send his team out in a 3-4-3 formation, with Constable lining up alongside Dave Kitson and Sean Rigg in United’s frontline. Andy Whing returned from suspension to partner Rose in the midfield.

The hosts started brightly, much like their younger team-mates had in Tuesday night’s cup game, stroking the ball around the field with composure. The Cobblers were happy to contain United in the early stages, but offered their own threat when right-back Kevin Amankwaah burst through to slice wide of Ryan Clarke’s goal.

Former Bradford City goalkeeper Matt Duke was warmed-up by Whing’s tame left-footed effort from the edge of the area, before Rigg’s angled drive provided a far more significant sting to the palm.

Oxford were dominating possession and territory, but were struggling to create clear chances against Aidy Boothroyd’s determined, if somewhat toothless, charges. Darren Carter threatened to remove that line from the match report, but his left-footed effort swerved wide of the upright. The ball cannoned into the side-netting via the stanchion, causing the large number of Northampton fans to celebrate wildly. Oh how we laughed…

Moments earlier Roy O’Donovan had fallen over when well-placed, possibly as a result of watching Clarke fall over as he raced from his line. If the goals weren’t going to come, at least we were having fun. In a glorious display of dominance being made to pay by a team in yellow on Grenoble Road, United then took the lead in stylish fashion.

Johnny Mullins played the ball to Kitson, who flicked the ball behind his standing leg to find Whing. The destructive midfielder showed a touch he doesn’t often receive credit for to release Constable on the edge of the box with only one defender between him and the goal. With the lack of a Football League Show tonight we will have to wait until tomorrow to see what exactly happened, but the defender ended up on his arse and the ball was drilled firmly into the net. For followers of Constable’s Instagram account, it could perhaps be branded as a smart finish…

Contrary to popular belief, we at Rage Online believe this to have been Constable’s 201st Oxford appearance (excluding the Chester one) and the striker was also key to United’s second goal in stoppage time. The superb Kitson flicked the ball on and using the pace and power that have become so familiar to Oxford fans, Constable turned Ben Tozer and made his way into the box along the touchline. The former Swindon defender was adjudged to have caught Beano’s ankle and referee Darren Deadman wasted no time in pointing to the spot. Those who have seen the replay suggest that contact was minimal (if it existed at all), but Northampton have always been a bunch of bad teds anyway so I don’t think we’re going to pretend to be too bothered.

The fact is that a penalty was awarded and Danny Rose recovered from an otherwise sloppy first half to guide the ball into the corner of the net. A fabulous five minutes for a team who desperately needed a boost on home turf.

United were clearly content with their advantage and soaked up a prolonged period of pressure at the start of the second period. Too many free-kicks were given away in dangerous areas, but Wright, Raynes and Mullins made sure that Clarke’s goal remained intact. When the lively Ivan Toney did get to the ball first at the near post, the outstretched foot of Clarke kept the lead at a two goal margin.

In truth, the second half was largely a non-event. Northampton tried hard but couldn’t make anything happen, while Oxford were more than happy with the fruits of their labour from the first half.

Mathias Doumbe’s fine block denied Constable a second after good work by Rigg and Hunt, before the hungry striker planted a volley wide of the post when well placed.

United’s support had been in superb form all afternoon and were in full voice as the referee called time on a good afternoon’s work.

Due to now having a proper job, this was my first Oxford United league game this season and thoroughly enjoyable it was too. We weren’t phenomenal, but we were confident and effective. These are two things that have been lacking from home performances in recent weeks and combined with a crowd who were determined to give the players every encouragement to perform, today was hopefully a turning point for everybody involved.

Back to winning ways. Back in the top three. Long may it continue.

Attendance: 6,177

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 12th, 2013 at 8:07 pm and appears under 2013, Match Report. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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