Shots to pieces

I always had a theory about Stuart Massey; although Joey Beauchamp and Chris Allen were more dynamic and exciting (as wingers are supposed to be) Massey forced Oxford to be more measured. With Gray and Smith in the middle, creativity had to come from the flanks. Because Massey was slower than the two golden boys, the whole team had to play to his tempo.

Steve Basham offers something similar; though Duffy clearly delivers goals and Yemi pace, once they had run out of ideas yesterday Basham was able to come on and change all the angles of attack.

Certainly before his introduction Aldershot had neutralised Duffy (though he was perhaps distracted by the suspected broken bone in his hand), Burgess had drifted out wide to find space, leaving Yemi to try and dribble his way around through the Shots back five.

Basham’s movement sucked defenders out of their trenches, occupied their midfield who had been free to help turn the screw at the other end. When Basham arrived, he offered so many different options, he was able to break up the pattern that the Shots had become so comfortable with.

This was the blueprint for the victory, it’ll be this ability to shift emphasis when things get bogged down that’ll be the blueprint for the championship this season.

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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