It’s been nearly ten years since I last watched Oxford on the TV, the last time was the 2-1 defeat at Stoke. Every other time they’ve been on, I’ve been there, which I can now tell you is the preferable option.
The myopia that TV football brings makes the game all the more excruciating to watch. Whilst we close up on Steve Basham looking pensive, there’s no way of knowing if anyone is dropping close for the short ball, whether the striker is pounding down on the dithering Turley or any of the other movements that put the whole game into context.
Everyday armchair fans must watch games like this all the time. There’s a clear gap in perception between those in the living room, who can only see what the camera shows them and hear the opinion of the ‘expert analysis’ and those in the stand who know that the pacey winger Andy Gray is drooling over, is actually a bit flighty and lazy.
Expert analysis is pretty hopeless at the best of times, but in the Conference it is at its worst. Pre-match analysis claimed, with some authority, that Oxford would line up 4-4-2, even though they haven’t played like that all season. And calling Eddie Anaclet, Eddie ANSALET throughout does make you question whether they’ve bothered to even read the programme.
The game isn’t that easy to summarise, Crawley had a lot possession, pressed hard and had a lot of shots, they looked more the more dynamic and direct side, but Turley had little to do and the quality of Oxford’s chances was overall better. We looked good first half, but faded in the second, someone needs to dictate the pace in midfield. Burgess is the undoubted creative lever, but he tends to over-elaborate and can start to lose a bit of finesse as he tires.
Matt Day followed his poor man’s Ricky Villa with a 30 pile driver in injury time. At this rate Oxford might have to invest in some media training for the poor lad. Asked what he was thinking when he picked the ball up, he took the end of the question has a queue to take a massive swig of water followed by the legend ‘dunno’.