Crawley Town 0 Yellows 1

Good decision from the club regarding the points appeal. The Oxford Mail suggested it was ‘stick or twist’ as though the decision was a game of chance. What was needed was some level-headed analytical thought.

And so it came. To fight the league on a point of principle was always a loser. The rule is the rule whether it’s a bad one or not. The arbiter of any appeal, the FA, would have been challenged to rule against the league, because above all it needed to maintain the credibility of the competition. To rule with the club would have opened the floodgates for appeals left right and centre.

The club messed things up and Hutchinson played when he shouldn’t have. We can argue until the end of time as to whose responsibility it is to make sure a player is registered. But, for now, it’s the club. The punishment for this is clear; you forfeit the game. There goes three points.

The point that the league needs to take responsibility for spotting the error is well made. But to argue this point for the sake of two points, or a badly defended corner, is as futile as claiming your season is dictated by a dodgy offside decision.

And, let’s face it, deduction or no, to be five points off the play-offs in January suddenly feels like mission impossible 2 is on. Our last successful season, 95/96 had mission impossible 1. A ho hum season burst into life at the end of January with a 2-0 win at Burnley – the first away win. We lost 3 in 21 after that and got promoted famously destroying Wycombe and Swindon along the way. Every season we start badly, I live in hope that we’ll have a late season surge. This year, maybe this could be the one.

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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