• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Oxford United draw at Shrewsbury Town: Key talking points

Byoxfordnewspaper

Mar 31, 2024

OXFORD United conceded late on as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury Town on Good Friday.

Billy Bodin saw his strike crack off the underside of the crossbar to give United the lead eight minutes into the second half, however Jack Price found a leveller with eight minutes to go.

We had a look at some of the key talking points from the game.

READ ALSO: Our player ratings after Oxford United held to draw on Good Friday

Losing points from winning positions

The U’s have taken the lead in 11 of the 24 league games since Des Buckingham took over as head coach, but holding on to those leads has proved problematic.

Of those 11 games where United have nudged in front, on only four occasions have they gone on to secure all three points (Burton Albion and Cheltenham Town at home, plus Carlisle United and Port Vale away).

While the U’s have only been beaten twice (the home games against Derby County and Leyton Orient), the five draws are probably more of concern.

Dropping two points from winning positions could prove to be costly in what will surely be a tight race for the play-offs, and United were at it again on Good Friday.

Buckingham rued his side’s inability to kill the Shrews game off, with several opportunities spurned.

Finding that ruthless edge in front of goal is going to be crucial for the U’s if they are to finish in the top six.

Midfield set-up

Buckingham made just the one change to his starting XI, from the side which won 2-0 at Port Vale before the international break.

Will Goodwin was unavailable due to injury, so Mark Harris came in up front, while it meant the midfield three remained the same.

It’s been bold of Buckingham to go with such an attacking three in the middle of the park, with Cameron Brannagan at the base, and Bodin and Ruben Rodrigues either side of him.

At times in the first half, the Shrews were able to bypass United’s midfield if Brannagan got sucked in, but that was finely tuned in the second period.

Marcus McGuane was again left out of the matchday squad, and it will be interesting to see if he returns for the Easter Monday clash at home to Fleetwood Town.

Threat of Owen Dale

Former Blackpool winger Dale was arguably the brightest spark for the U’s in the final third, with his ability to run at opponents and weave between players.

While he’s exciting to watch, his end product needs bringing up to speed. Dale has already shown he has an excellent cross, but regularly doing that and finding the target with his shots are two areas needing a little bit of work right now.

Marcus Browne through the middle

Browne went straight up top in a straight swap with Harris when he came on, and looked a real handful.

His strength and ball control helped him barge past players, and drive at goal. Usually deployed on the wings, it’s not an unnatural position to him, and possibly one he’ll find himself in again if Goodwin remains unavailable for Monday.