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Blues left short-changed by draw

first_imgOxford 2 -2 Warwick MARTIN Keown is becoming more patient with age. The newly appointed Blues coach stood calmly on the touchline, despite witnessing a frustrating draw on a cold day at Iffley Road. Although one point was enough to put Oxford at the top of their BUSA league, the home team will no doubt regret defensive errors that prevented them from winning for the second week in a row. Oxford ran out eventual 4-3 winners at Northampton and made one change from that game, Tom Howell replacing Niko de Walden in the starting line-up.Against the run of play, Oxford were the team to break the goalless deadlock when Farr’s pinpoint cross found the head of Cameron Knight in the fifteenth minute. The Oriel midfielder made no mistake, timing his jump to precision before placing the ball into the back of the away net, and propelling the Blues into the lead. Until this point, Warwick were the dominant side, regularly exposing weaknesses in the Oxford defence. Despite a great deal of shouting at both the opposition and themselves, the home side’s back four failed to communicate effectively, allowing the Warwick strikers too much time on the ball in dangerous positions. As a result, former Fulham youth goalkeeper Nik Baker was unable to prevent two successive goals from Warwick, either side of half time. This double blow appeared to knock the wind out of the home side’s sails, despite rallying cries from 3rd year captain, Paul Rainford.Fortunately for Oxford, their depression was short lived, courtesy of a fantastic free kick from Homer Sullivan. The midfielder’s 25-yard strike was reminiscent of David Beckham, and it is debateable as to who is playing for the better club at present. From here onwards, Oxford attacked with style and energy, demonstrating that they have the ability to cause havoc, despite lacking great aerial presence. Moments of fast one-touch football delighted a large crowd of shivering spectators, who had come to watch on a day when there were no college matches being played.Alex Toogood’s pace provided a constant threat for the Blues, enabling him to beat his man on a number of occasions. Despite a small frame, the blonde Worcester college striker was able to compete against Warwick’s tall centre backs as well as running down the left hand flank with gusto. Unfortunately, one of his best opportunities was deemed offside by the Warwick line judge, prompting accusations of bias from the home crowd.Toogood was later involved in the main talking point of the game, when his penalty claim was turned down in the dying seconds. From fifty yards away, the referee judged the striker to be outside the box when he was tripped, choosing not to consult his linesman for a second opinion. Although Ruud van Nistelrooy will tell you that Martin Keown is happy to fight over penalty claims, the Blues coach was calm on this occasion, preferring to keep his hands in the pockets of his coat. This was the final point of excitement in the game, with both managers appearing content with a point. It is unlikely that Keown will stay managing in his home town for more than a season, particularly as his playing rivals are battling in the glamorous world of the Premiership. Nonetheless, Oxford continue their title campaign against Worcester University next week, in the knowledge that they have the ultimate hard man to eliminate their defensive problems.last_img read more