Mansfield 2 Yellows 1

Before:

Yellows travel to Mansfield defending an 11 match unbeaten run, 6 games without conceding a goal, and a 9 month unbeaten away record. On occasions during the run Oxford have ridden their luck (as is normal in record breaking runs). There is an increasingly likelihood that something will give before too much longer. Mansfield are a decent side who have made a reasonable start so to come home with the run intact will be some achievement, but don’t be surprised to see it come under a lot of pressure.

After:

We lose. We forgo our unbeaten start to the season, our clean sheet record and our away record. Losing to a team like Mansfield is clear proof we’ve been papering over the cracks. Clear evidence that Wilder has derailed our season. [source: TiU messageboard and post game Radio Oxford phone in]

Hmm. Am I the only one who thought that we’d do well to get more than 3 points from the Mansfield/Gateshead double header? Records, by definition, take you to the extremes of the possible. The probability of continuing a record reduces as you approach and pass the previous mark. People seem very keen to make a link between Chris Wilder’s rant on Saturday and the Mansfield score line but it’s not like Mansfield was a shoe-in that suddenly went sour.

No, the impact of Wilder’s intervention can’t be truly analysed for some time to come. Let’s look towards the end of October, say. Three winnable home games, a couple of winnable away games, and a tricky away day at York. What would be acceptable? 4 wins and a draw – 13 points? We’d probably take that. Failure? Let’s say less than 10 points. Anything in the middle of that and it would be difficult to draw any firm conclusions. What you can’t do is judge it on a decidedly losable game away to Mansfield.

One criticism I have of Wilder, however, is that he’s slipped into incomprehensible babbling in the media. Criticism in a win but more pride in a defeat. It feels like he’s trying to prove that he’s on a different level by presenting counter-logical arguments. I’d rather he got back to his impressive, pragmatic self. Clearly we didn’t do things right against Mansfield, but we shouldn’t be shocked if we’re beaten by this kind of team. Next game please.

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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