League One Gameweek 31: Change Of Luck For Oxford?4 min read
Things looked ominous for Oxford United when they found themselves two-goals down at Fleetwood in January; defeat on the Fylde coast would have left their survival prospects looking bleak.
Instead, Jamie Mackie inspired a second half resurgence that meant a 2-2 draw, which kick-started an unbeaten run which now stands at four games.
The following week, the Yellows beat leaders Portsmouth 2-1 thanks to goals from Cameron Brannagan and James Henry.
They got that result by playing slick, confident football and getting men forward, even when they were two goals ahead in that match.
While the injury to Ricky Holmes and the loss of form for Marcus Browne would, in theory, be a significant hindrance, we have also seen Northern Ireland star Gavin Whyte show more of himself and Jordan Graham has made an impact since joining on loan from Wolves.
Karl Robinson’s side then out-shot Barnsley, who many regard to be one of the top two sides in the division, in a 2-2 draw.
They could not quite make a man advantage count in last week’s 0-0 draw at Burton, but it was not for want of effort, with the opposing goalkeeper turning in a man-of-the-match display.
#oufc fans at the game: Good performance, unlucky not to win, Sinclair looks good.#oufc fans at home: shocking performance, KR out, Vaughan would have scored 5.
I know whose report I’ll listen to. #COYY
— George Elek (@GeorgeElek) February 2, 2019
While in the first half of the season, Oxford were over reliant on veteran Mackie up top, they now have depth with the speedy Jerome Sinclair joining on loan from Watford.
Shot data lists Oxford as one of the top six sides in League One over the last five matches and, having almost dominated in the reverse fixture, a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light back in September, they can be optimistic about their capacity to produce another competitive performance.
Lucky Black Cats
On Expected Goals so far this season, Sunderland have averaged an xGF of 1.25 per game and an xGA of 1.33, giving them a performance ratio of 48.57