Yellows 2 Bradford 1

If art is supposed to challenge our beliefs and make sense of what is around us, then there was a period on Saturday where our performance verged so much on the artistic that scoring an equaliser would have spoilt it.

A goal down, but utterly dominant, it seemed wrong to belittle such artistry with the triviality of goals and results. This was a lesson about no matter how much you try, material reward is not guaranteed. And how important it is to be happy with your efforts and that this should far outweigh what you gain from those efforts.

Peter Taylor looked like a man who’d invested his savings in a five-bedroom house overlooking the sea only to find that coastal erosion would claim it within months. At first he was angry and animated, but he regressed watching wide-eyed and helpless as his charges crumbled against our unstoppable tidal wave.

His aides buzzed around him, looking for a moment of wisdom that would release the pressure. Taylor, however, with years of experience coaching some of the world’s best players knew there was nothing he could do.

To distance the diminutive point that a win was needed, from the grand art statement that was the performance, the goals – a mere platitude to the need for points and league places, were ugly, scrappy and bundled affairs, anathema to what had come before them.

The play-offs are now just a point away and history may still read that we briefly dallied with promotion before fading late in the season (personally I think the seven away games from nine during February and March, will ultimately push us to mid-table). However, the question we must consider is whether we can keep up with this pace of progress?

Signing the likes of Maclean, widely accepted to be the calibre of player we’re now in the market for, inevitably puts pressure on finances. We’ve also got to find players like this to sign. There is a scenario where we end up in League 1 with a couple of Macleans playing alongside decent Conference players. The machine could blow a gasket because we can’t evolve quick enough. As fun as all this is, maybe we need a cooling off period to build up a bit of robustness for beyond League 2.

But that’s just my logical/rational side speaking. A bloke next to me descending from the South Stand Upper turned to his mate and said “Well, it’s not often you get what you deserve”.

In this game, mate? or in life?

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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