Stockport 2 Yellows 1

I followed Saturday’s defeat via Twitter whilst walking around Windsor. When we went 1-0 up, I thought, ‘eeh, that Tom Craddock he’s such an enigma.’ Then when it came through the Anthony Tonkin got sent off, I thought ‘eeh, that Anthony Tonkin, he’s such an en…’

And then it dawned on my, we’re a team of enigmas. That’s what makes our results so unpredictable.

Take Tom Craddock, he’s a player who it’s difficult to warm to. He leaves such a lack of impression; I sometimes find it difficult to work out which is Craddock and which is McLean. They are just one player. His game is defined wholly by his goals. If he doesn’t score, he doesn’t exist. And yet, he will surely end up as our top scorer with a pretty decent haul.

Tonkin arrived after the extended weather break during Christmas 2009. He has a slouched style and a shuffling gate. He exudes virtually no emotion. He comes over as both lazy and disinterested, but reassuringly controlled in equal measure. He seems a man untouched by the pressure of professional football, and yet, there are times when he seems to collapse. Yesterday, Tuesday and much earlier in the season, against Stockport (I think).

Add to these is Steve McLean. He seems part pivotal lynch pin, part ineffective show pony, part psychotic. Like all good enigmas, just when you think you’ve worked him out, he changes again.

These characters have contributed to a team that both amazes and frustrates in equal measure. They play the best football we’ve possibly ever seen at the Kassam, and yet, suddenly, in a moment, they collapse.

It’s a stark contrast from the squad of last year, which was all honest graft, sleeves where rolled were up and we went to work. There were few subtleties.

But, whilst it can all go horribly wrong in a moment, I like it. For the first time in years, results are important but not essential. We’re not escaping from the Conference, we’re aspiring for League 1 and because there is not the same emphasis on points, the style in which we’re playing is increasingly important.

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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