Coming up: Dagenham and Redbridge

Braintree wrap

Ultimately, the 3-1 win over Braintree in the Cup was fairly routine. Michael Appleton’s team selection felt like a snooker player building a break; it wasn’t a team to beat Braintree, even without the likes of Kemar Roofe and Liam Sercombe we would have probably been good enough. It was more an assurance because the path through to the third round looks more than negotiable and that’s where the bigger paydays lie.

That kind of thinking demonstrates the confidence with which Michael Appleton appears to be managing his team. He’s moving away from the text book, something he seemed such a slave to last year, and towards his own instincts. The more his decisions prove to work, the more confident he will become.

Dagenham – The drop

How can it be the 21st of November and only the second league game in a month? I guess it’s just that time of year. Saturday’s game against Dagenham and Redbridge demonstrates one of those curiosities in football; a few weeks ago we played them in a meaningless JPT game against them,  now we play the same team at the same venue, but now it’s in the league, so it’s critical.

With only one league game played this month it’s difficult to truly assess how we’re doing. Cambridge last week was more uncomfortable than we’d expected, but we came away with the three points and it should have been more comfortable than it was.

The cup games offer little further evidence; by all accounts we should have put a hatful past Braintree in the opening tie, the aforementioned JPT game was comfortable, but we were playing with a second string team, on Tuesday finally eased into the second round. Did we play well, or did we just do what we should have done in the first place?

Old game of the day

If anyone was to ask, which they never do, but if they did, and they asked me what was my favourite moment of the Conference years, even beyond York it was a period of about 10 minutes during our game against Dagenham and Redbridge in 2007. In a sense it was a title decider, but by that point, they were well clear and we’d fallen away. However, it was a warm spring night in a tense and feral environment. They went a goal up and then we brought Yemi on. For literally 10 minutes, football could not have been more fun.

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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