Us 2 Salisbury City 1

That was so much better. Playing an expansive passing game suits us. Paul Shaw pulled the strings in the middle allowing Phil Trainer the chance to play. It relieved Jeannin and Anaclet from much of their defensive responsibilities giving us pace down the flanks. With so many options and angles available, space opened up for Yemi to exploit. For twenty minutes it was really clicking.

The Histon result may have done us some good. Last year, I remember Phil Gilchrist saying, following a frusrating draw, that it was only a matter of time before we gave someone a hiding. A hiding that never came. It was assumed that some sort of natural law would deliver results. The bumbling start we’ve made smacks of a team that’s been expecting to win. A beating from Heston is pretty sobering.

It wasn’t all good, Shaw’s early departure saw us lose momentum; Danny Rose is a willing worker, but doesn’t have Shaw’s assured class. Confidence is a fragile thing at the moment, and we seemed to become increasingly insular as the game progressed. When we did claw our way back in front, the confidence, the passing, the class flooded back. A promotion charge is in there, but without a solid platform to work from, it’s easily snuffed out. More wins is the only solution.

Has there been an uglier team at the Kassam (or the Manor) than Salisbury? I don’t mind playing to your strengths, if that means playing it long to the big bloke up front, then so be it. If it means defending deep as a unit, no problem. If you nick a goal and spend the rest of the time wasting – if the referee isn’t going to do anything about it – go for your life.

The tactic of kick and niggle is the pits. Its so debilitating. The game becomes meaningless as a spectacle. There’s no fooballing talent in standing a big oaf in front of the Billy Turley while he lines his wall up. How are we supposed to respect a team whose management team can’t control itself enough to avoid violent confrontation with opposing players on the pitch? The win was not only desparately needed, it was a moral victory.

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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