Late heartbreak for Oxford United
CHRIS Wilder felt tiredness from Saturday’s derby win was a factor as Oxford United let a two-goal lead slip to draw 2-2 at Shrewsbury Town.
The U’s came within seconds of becoming the first team to win at the Greenhous Meadow in more than a year, but conceded a 94th-minute wonder strike from Matt Richards.
A Lee Holmes brace had given the visitors a 2-0 lead at the interval, but they rarely threatened in the second half as Shrewsbury dominated.
Wilder was deeply disappointed to get so close to another important win, but thought his side had faded due to the effort put in on Saturday, when they beat Swindon Town 2-0 despite playing for 80 minutes with ten men.
“I thought we’d done it, but for the boy to whack one in from 30 yards into the top corner, you can’t do anything about it,” he said.
“You have to take into account what they went through on Saturday, we didn’t said anything before the game, but it was bound to affect them.
“You saw that in the last 20-25 minutes, there was no spark or life about the players.
“They put an unbelievable shift in on Saturday and they were 30 seconds off making it a fantastic week, but you have to move on.”
Injuries and a suspension to James Constable meant teenager Tyrone Marsh was called into the squad and the lack of options left Wilder unwilling to make a third change in the closing minutes.
He said: “I’m looking to change it to bring fresh legs on – and I’ve got a goalkeeper, a 19-year-old boy and a centre-half, so we couldn’t really.
“We just had to hang on in there and we felt we’d done enough, but sometimes it hurts you.”
Two-goal Holmes admitted it was a tough blow to take for the players, but stressed that four points from two tough games against promotion-chasing Swindon and Shrewsbury was an achievement.
He said: “When you go through games like that and concede so late it knocks the wind out of you.
“But we spoke a bit in the changing room afterwards and you have to take the positives from the game, tick it off and look to the next one.”
Meanwhile, Port Vale are set to go into administration for the second time in eight years – and that will help Oxford United’s play-off ambitions.
An unpaid Income Tax bill has led to a number of creditors contacting United’s League Two promotion rivals, including Stoke City Council, who are reported to be owed in the region of £4m.
It will see the play-off contenders deducted ten points.