Football: Oxford 3 - 0 Rochdale
Date published: 27 October 2019
Oxford continued their good run of form as they brushed aside 10-man Rochdale at a rain swept Kassam Stadium.
Karl Robinson’s U’s raced into a two-goal lead before Aaron Wilbraham was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Tariqe Fosu which ended the game as a contest. Ian Henderson, on as a half-time substitute, had the ball in the net midway through the second half only for the assistant’s flag to cut short the celebrations.
The home side wrapped up the points with five minutes remaining when Sam Long slotted in after a good save from Jay Lynch denied James Henry.
Brian Barry-Murphy was forced into one change from the side that beat MK Dons in midweek; Ian Henderson not risked from the start after suffering from a tight hamstring meaning Aaron Wilbraham started.
Oxford came into the game with just one defeat in their last 13 games in all competitions and came at their visitors from the first whistle. An early corner showed Rochdale what to expect when Josh Ruffles glanced a header wide.
Minutes later Ruffles put his side into the lead from another corner. Brannagan’s flag kick was nodded down inside the area with Ruffles quickest to react to the loose ball to poke in from close range.
Oxford got their second seven minutes later from another set play that the dale defence didn’t deal with. Brannagan saw his shot crash back off the crossbar and land at the feet of Fosu to cushion a volley inside the far post for his 8th goal of the season.
Rochdale looked second best and their hosts had opportunities to extend their lead. James Henry should have added a third when picked out 5 yards out; the winger missing his shot when it looked easier to score. Former Scotland International Jamie Mackie headed over from 6-yards out and another chance for the Scot saw Lynch deny him with a good low save.
With the game heading for half-time, Dale went down to 10-men with Wilbraham’s red card. The striker mis-controlled a ball and in trying to recover possession; went over the top of the ball according to referee Mr Kinseley who showed no hesitation in brandishing the red card.
Barry-Murphy brought on Henderson at the start of the second half but it didn’t stop the flow of the game as Oxford looked to extend their lead. A rare Dale corner was soon cleared and as the home side broke in numbers, Dale looked short at the back. Mark Sykes did well to create space with Fosu on hand to strike at goal; thankfully his shot flew over.
Oxford saw a few shots flash off target with the visitors holding them at arm’s length. Henry, Baptsite and Dickie all missing the target.
With the score-line still at 2-0, a goal for Rochdale could have set up a nervy finale but it wasn’t to be. Ian Henderson thought he netted his 10th of the campaign only for the offside flag to rule out his brilliant strike.
As the game drew to a close, Oxford got their third with five minutes remaining through substitute Sam Long. Rhys Norrington-Davies’ foul on Hall saw a free-kick awarded to the right of the area with Hall picking himself up to take. A short pass picked out Henry who’s powerful shot was beaten away by Lynch only for the loose ball to fall kindly to Long to/slot into the virtually unguarded net.
In the end, Rochdale were well beaten by an Oxford side that are now unbeaten in eight league games as they closed the gap on Ipswich to five points.
Rochdale: Lynch, Keohane, O’Connell, McShane, Norrington-Davies, MJ Williams, Morley (Henderson 46), Rathbone (Andrew 77), Camps (c), Done (Tavares 59), Wilbraham
Substitutes: (not used) Wade, Pyke, Ryan, Matheson
Oxford: Eastwood, Cadden (Long 51), Dickie, Mousinho (c), Ruffels, Henry, Sykes, Gorrin, Brannagan (Baptiste 46), Fosu (Hall 75), Mackie
Substitutes: (not used) Stevens, Moore, Forde, Agyei
Referee: Mr N Kinseley
Assistants: Mr A Tranter & Mr G Read
Fourth Official: Mr O Jackson
Attendance: 6,666 (206 from Rochdale)
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