• Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Oxford United 1 (Joseph 56), Morecambe 1 (Weir 48)


Aug 22, 2022

OXFORD United were again unable to turn possession into three points as Kyle Joseph scored his first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw with Morecambe.

The on-loan striker fired home from close range eight minutes after Jensen Weir put the visitors ahead early in the second half.

It followed a drab opening 45 minutes at the Kassam Stadium as United lacked the creativity to seriously worry Morecambe, who offered very little themselves in the Sky Bet League One clash.

The U’s put the visitors’ goal under much more pressure in the second half, but they failed to add to Joseph’s strike and their winless run extends to three matches.

Karl Robinson spoke about ‘changing the jigsaw’ and the pieces were arranged differently to Tuesday’s defeat to Lincoln City.

United’s head coach switched from 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 diamond and made three changes to his line-up.

Joseph made his first competitive start since New Year’s Day alongside Matty Taylor, while James Henry came in for Lewis Bate in midfield.

Ciaron Brown replaced Elliott Moore after the U’s captain sustained a thigh injury in the week, with Marcus Browne also sidelined with a knee problem. John Mousinho and Slavi Spasov were promoted to the bench.

United had no option but to start on the front foot and Henry fired just wide from 25 yards in the fourth minute.

Morecambe suffered an early setback when Ash Hunter sustained an injury and came off for Ousmane Fane, as the visitors switched to 3-5-2.

The U’s continued to control possession but lacked the spark to put the visiting defence under pressure, with Fane screening the back three effectively.

Morecambe’s Liam Gibson came close to breaking the deadlock as he met Jake Taylor’s cut back in the 17th minute, only to sidefoot into the Jim Smith Stand from 12 yards out.

The home fans held their breath moments later as Marcus McGuane needed treatment after a 50/50, but the midfielder eventually got to his feet and United responded with quickfire chances.

Joseph released stand-in captain Cameron Brannagan in behind and the midfielder, on his weaker foot, fired straight at Connor Ripley. The ball sat up and Jacob Bedeau appeared to trip the U’s No 8, but referee Benjamin Speedie was unmoved.

Taylor then had one shot blocked and another deflected behind, but United failed to build on the good spell and the half petered out.

Taylor volleyed into the turf on the stroke of stoppage-time as the sides went in level, with the U’s again needing a much-improved performance after the break.

Morecambe boss Derek Adams perhaps sensed the game was there for the taking and brought on Dylan Connolly and star striker Cole Stockton for Arthur Gnahoua and Jon Obika at the interval.

The substitutes had the desired effect as the Shrimps took the lead less than three minutes after the restart with the best move of the match.

Morecambe moved it down the left and Donald Love’s flick set up Weir on the edge of the penalty area, with Simon Eastwood only able to get a hand to the shot as it flew into the net.

United pushed forward in search of an equaliser but left gaps at the back, with Weir scuffing wide after Connolly raced up the pitch on the counter-attack.

In the end, the U’s were only behind for eight minutes as Joseph opened his account with a much-needed goal.

Henry saw a shot deflected just wide and Taylor headed the resulting corner back across the six-yard box, with the Swansea City loanee stabbing home from close range.

Both strikers saw headers caught by Ripley midway through the half, while Spasov replaced Bodin to make his first league appearance since December 2018.

The chances kept coming as the 70-minute mark came and went, with Brannagan forcing Ripley into a good save low to his left and Joseph seeing a shot blocked.

United began to lose momentum as full-time approached and McGuane went down again, this time hobbling off. Alex Gorrin was substituted on for the No 18 and Tyler Goodrham replaced Henry.

The fourth official signalled six minutes of stoppage-time and it presented the U’s with one more golden chance. Joseph crossed low towards Spasov eight yards out and the young striker took a touch before firing goalwards, with fellow substitute Anthony O’Connor making a crucial block.

Oxford United (4-1-2-1-2): Eastwood, Long, Brown, Findlay, Seddon, McGuane (Gorrin 84), Henry (Goodrham 84), Brannagan, Bodin (Spasov 67), Taylor, Joseph.

Unused subs: McGinty, Mousinho, Bate, Jones.

Booked: Gorrin.

Morecambe (3-4-3): Ripley, Rawson, Bedeau, Delaney, Love, Weir (O’Connor 79), Gibson (McLoughlin 75), Taylor, Hunter (Fane 7), Obika (Stockton 46), Gnahoua (Connolly 46).

Unused subs: Smith, Watts.

Booked: Stockton, Fane, Rawson, Connolly.

Referee: Benjamin Speedie (Merseyside).

Attendance: 6,813 (130 visitors).