Thursday, April 25, 2024

Des Buckingham grateful for ‘much-needed win’ as Oxford edge out Cheltenham

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Mar 2024

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Oxford boss Des Buckingham hailed his side’s late 2-1 victory over struggling Cheltenham as a “much-needed win” for his play-off-chasing side.

Greg Leigh headed the winner in the 87th minute from a fine cross by Owen Dale.

Josh Murphy had fired the hosts in front in first-half stoppage time, but the Robins equalised in the 80th minute through Will Ferry.

Buckingham said: “We’ve come away with a much-needed win, points on the board at an important time of the year.

“It took us until the 87th minute to get there, but we got there in the end.

“Cheltenham are a very difficult team to play against. They play with five at the back and have got four in midfield – sometimes you have to be patient and do things a lot quicker.

“I thought the last 10 or 15 minutes of the first half we came good, got the goal and lost a bit of control of the game but regained it and got what I thought was a deserved winner.

“I wouldn’t like to play against Owen (Dale). He works tirelessly the whole game. He’s one of the few players I have seen in this league who is able to dribble at pace. He’ll invariably get past you and today he put two or three decent balls into the box.

“And Greg arrived on the back of another cross and scored the second time. He should probably have scored with the first one just before, though that was a very good save.

“Owen was very good, but when you’ve got Josh Murphy on the other side too it just mixes things up.

“We’ve been trying to get Greg Leigh into more advanced areas. He did it a little bit more second half, which was good to see.”

Cheltenham manager Darrell Clarke was unhappy with the mentality of his players as they conceded goals at the end of each half to slip even deeper into relegation trouble.

Clarke said: “I’m not happy. We should never concede a goal like that just before half-time.

“Then we score an equaliser, are on the front foot and then it’s a mentality thing for me. It wasn’t just the goal, for five or six minutes before that people were slashing at things, no composure, not making right decisions.

“I’m not happy on crucial moments in games and I’m expecting more from our players.

“For me it was a mindset and mentality issue that we sat back after scoring and then you get punished. It was inexcusable.

“Our game plan was working quite well first half, we’d limited them to very few chances, only a couple of long-range shots and then we concede a poor goal.

“We made a few changes, stayed in the game, got the ball down and played in the right areas and got the equaliser.

“Then, for whatever reason, the mentality of the team that was out there to finish the game was nowhere near good enough.

“Players that come into the team need to take those opportunities or else they’ll never play at those levels again.

“Players have to learn quickly because otherwise they just fall by the wayside.”

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