Oxford Loss For Ten-Man Pools
Simon Walton saw red on a night that ended in a 1-0 defeat for Colin Cooper's men at the Kassam Stadium
Pools had some early defending to do as Oxford started strongly, with strikers Dave Connolly an James Constable looking lively for the hosts.
Cooper’s men were faced with a number of early set pieces to defend but some big blocks from the increasingly solid duo of Collins and Burgess kept them at bay.
Pools’ first chance of the game fell to the shot-confident Barmby but his punt from the edge of the box went just wide of Ryan Clarke’s near post.
At the other end the physical Constable mis-kicked when in a great position to shoot after a good break down the left by his side and then Simon Walton stepped in to clear the danger for Pools.
Scott Flinders pulled off a decent block to deny Connolly who tried to squeezae and effort in at the near post but just failed to beat the Pools’ keeper.
Jack Compton, back in the side in place of the injured Andy Monkhouse, showed persistence to battle forward before laying the ball in for Luke James – but the young striker sent his strike from eight yards wide of the far post.
From then on in it was all Pools going forward and a succession of five corners saw one pull a great save out of the home stopper, tipping the ball over the bar after Christian Burgess had jumped to meet it.
With the pouring rain making for a heavy surface, the game fell a little flat for a period but it was Cooper’s men who finished the half well on top.
A late strike from Jack Barmby marked the end of the first half but his effort was palmed wide by Clarke and the teams went in level at half time.
There was an early let-off for Pools as Simon Walton was looked to have tripped Sean Rigg inside the box just after the re-start but the official, who was close to the action, was quick to wave away the appeals.
Just as they had started brightly in the first half, Oxford dominated the opening action after the break and there was some last-gasp defending in front of Scott Flinders to keep things level.
But Pools were soon battling at the right end of the pitch and there were a couple of chances to test Clarke, but both James and Barmby sent their efforts over the target.
Luke James was busy this evening, providing no let-up for the Oxford defenders, while Barmby continued to test Clarke with strikes from a variety of distances. But while Pools had looked most likely for much of the second half, as the last fifteen arrived, it was the hosts who were edging their way back on top.
Scott Flinders collected a decent effort from Josh Ruffels before Pools were reduced to ten men; Simon Walton picked up his second yellow card of the game for a trip on Rigg, leaving Cooper’s men with just over 15 minutes to play with ten men.
No sooner had Pools lost a man then they also lost a goal; a freekick from the left edge of the box was lifted into the box by David Hunt and met by Connolly who sent a header past Flinders to give the hosts the lead.
With pressure increasing from the hosts, Constable looked set to make it 2-0 as he burst through one-on-one with Flinders but the Pools keeper pulled out a great save to deny the Oxford striker.
Cooper made a trio of substitutions as he looked for his side to find their way back into the game, but it was Oxford who again went closest to adding to the scoresheet as lively sub Alfie Potter broke through on 90 minutes only to send his final shot high over Flinders' bar.
There was a late strike by Luke James which gave a glimpse of hope but his effort from the edge of the box was deflected wide and with it went any hope of an equaliser for Pools.
And so it was a disappointing night in the end for Cooper's side at the Kassam Stadium.
Oxford United 1 Pools 0Final Score:
Walton (73)Sent Off:
4954 (185 Pools)Att:
Clarke, Wright, Rigg, Constable (Smalley 90), Hunt, Williams (Potter37), Whing, Long, Connolly, Bevans, RuffelsOxford United:
Crocombe, Potter, Rose, Davies, O’Dowda, WroeSubs Not Used:
Flinders, Richards, Collins, Burgess, Holden (Poole 86), Walton, Walker, Compton (Sweeney 77), Barmby (Franks 83), Harewood, JamesPools:
Rafferty, Duckworth, Rowbotham, HawkinsSubs Not Used: