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Match Reports

Report: Oxford United 2-1 Iron

2 March 2019

The Iron lost 2-1 against Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Despite a late consolation goal from substitute George Thomas, two second-half headed goals from Jerome Sinclair gave the U’s the victory in Sky Bet League One.

Manager Stuart McCall made three changes to his starting line-up from last weekend’s draw against Doncaster Rovers. Tom Pearce and James Perch both returned to the starting 11, replacing Oxford loanee Tony McMahon, who was ineligible for the game, and George Thomas. There was also a first United start since the opening day of the season for striker Olufela Olomola, who had spent the first part of the season on-loan at Yeovil Town.

It was a bright start for the Iron after Funso Ojo tested Oxford goalkeeper Simon Eastwood within the opening minute of the match. His initial cross into the area was cleared away, before Harrison McGahey retrieved the ball and passed it back to Ojo, whose curling effort was gathered by Eastwood.

There were then claims for an Iron penalty when Kyle Wootton ran beyond the U’s backline and challenged for the ball in the air. The striker got to the ball before the goalkeeper, heading it goalwards, but Wootton was then wiped out by the goalkeeper. Instead, the referee gave a corner to the Iron, which led to nothing.

Continuing to threaten the hosts, the Iron won themselves a free-kick just over 20-yards from goal. Three players stood around the ball, which was rolled off to Lee Novak to strike, but it took a deflection off the wall and diverted away from the target. 

Oxford quickly broke up the other end following Scunthorpe’s set piece with Mark Sykes. He took strides towards the goal, but covering from left-back, Pearce got across to win an important tackle. The Leeds loanee was then rewarded for his efforts after the referee gave his side a free-kick, following a late challenge from Sykes. 

The Iron were then fortunate in how their next attack played out. The ball set up nicely on the edge of their box for Sinclair, but he was tackled by his own teammate before Pearce drove forward and saw a long-range strike comfortably stopped by Eastwood.

Five minutes before half-time, Ojo nearly got on the end of a perfect long ball from captain McArdle. His searching ball found the Belgian running through, but Ojo was unable to control the ball, with the goalkeeper coming off his line to claim it.

Sutton then went close to opening the scoring. Pearce laid the ball square to Sutton, who took one touch before drilling a low shot wide of the left post from 25-yards out.

Moments before the break, an Oxford free-kick was headed away by Cameron Burgess to Sykes outside the area. He took it first time on the volley, but it was a tame effort and failed to cause Alnwick any problems. 

After the interval, Pearce stepped up to take a free-kick 25-yards from goal. However, his effort lacked height with it striking the wall. 

Sutton then had his second chance of the match when the ball deflected back to him. He fizzed his effort wide of the left post. 

Minutes later, Scunthorpe had another opportunity. Pearce brought the ball forward and drove with it inside, his shot then ricocheted into the path of Olomola, whose driven effort flashed across the face of goal and went out for a goal-kick. 

However, Oxford took a 1-0 lead in the 66th minute. Sykes chipped a cross into the box and Sinclair headed into the back of the net.

The 73rd minute saw the introduction of Kevin van Veen and Thomas and both players lined up to take a free-kick not long after. Van Veen curled it around the wall, but it lacked any real pace as Eastwood got across his line to save it.

It was then 2-0 Oxford in the 80th minute. A cross was delivered into the area from the right side and Sinclair met the ball in the air again to head home.

The Iron got one goal back in stoppage time when van Veen met a cross at the far post and put the ball back into the danger zone for Thomas to convert from close range.

Red shirts then piled forward in search for a late equaliser. Firstly, Thomas had the ball taken away from him in the area, before van Veen saw an effort turned away by an Oxford defender, who managed to clear it away.

However, it was too late for the Iron, who were defeated 2-1 at the Kassam Stadium.

TEAM LINE-UPS

Oxford United: Eastwood, Garbutt (Whyte, 59’), Dickie, Nelson, Sinclair (Mackie, 90’), Ruffels, Mourinho, Henry, Graham (Browne, 85’), Long, Sykes.
Substitutes not used:Stevens, Hanson, Carruthers, Smith.

Scunthorpe United: Alnwick, Ojo, Perch, Pearce, Novak (van Veen, 73’), Burgess, Sutton (Lewis, 66’), McArdle, Olomola (Thomas, 73’), McGahey, Wootton.
Substitutes not used: Flatt, Ben El-Mhanni, Butroid, Hammill.

Referee: Michael Salisbury.

Attendance: 6,237 (295 away).

United’s next home game sees them face Bristol Rovers at Glanford Park on Saturday, March 9th (3pm kick-off). Click here for details of our Twin Pack offer, where you can make a big saving on tickets for the Southend United home match three days later. Buy tickets now at www.sufctickets.com.


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