Tuesday 12th March 2013 ko 19.45
OXFORD UNITED 1 (Raynes 90)
Att 5,027 (165 away)
Programme £3 (inc Oxford Mail)
1,400 or so grounds in, and I dread to think how many games, this game is still a complete mystery to me. Why was Scotland manager Gordon Strachan watching this? There are only 3 Scots in the two squads, Peter Leven for Oxford, Craig Beattie and George Sykes for Barnet. With Leven injured long term the most likely candidate was Sykes as he’s a member of Ricky Sbragia’s Scotland U19 squad. Trouble is none of the 3 Scots actually made an appearance.
What parallel universe do I live in when Dutch legend Edgar Davids plays for a struggling League 2 outfit? For many the second most noteworthy incident of the game was journeyman pro Andy Whing’s crunching tackle on him. The song from behind the goal, ” All we want is a team of Andy Whings,” was as erudite as it was heartfelt. And while I’m thinking of it why did Barnet play in a frankly ugly shade of lilac? With Oxford playing in all yellow this season, amber and black is no great clash.
Why oh why do a series of Oxford United managers reject good strikers and sign mediocre ones? Both Alfie Potter and James Constable smashed enough shots over the bar to convince me to stop parking my car in the car park at the open end of the ground. Just when you thought the striking options couldn’t get worse, Oxford United introduced Deane Smalley (44 appearances, 4 goals). He worked hard, as he always does, but does anyone think he’ll get you a goal?
Speaking of goals when will Firoka employ stadium staff that can purchase a half-decent set of goals, and get them to last for the duration of a football match? Watching the goal at the western end of the ground collapse twice is embarrassing, even if the added time gave enough time for United to score.
Did anyone visiting the stadium bookie put a pound on centre half Michael Raynes to score the only goal? His screaming header from all of an inch was just reward for a solid display in defence, but the headed ball back to the box from Scott Davies free kick came from Tom Craddock. When I watched Oxford United’s FA Cup tie at Barnet he was extremely conspicious by his absence. Now he looks destined to depart at the end of the campaign, lost and unloved by management, but why?
From a Barnet perspective what was goalkeeper Graham Stack doing collecting a booking for a foul on his opposite number? Yes, there were seconds left, but it was pointless, and silly bookings often have a habit of punishing struggling teams later on. I have connections to Barner and have no desire to see them back in the Conference.
Still a win is welcome even if it is against a struggling team, Davids or not. Where you place it in the season’s context? Don’t ask me I’ve no idea, it was another night of mystery!