Oxford United (H) Apr 6th, 3pm

#1

"A troop of Oxford hunters going home,
As in old days, jovial and talking, ride!"

(‘Thyrsis’ - Matthew Arnold)

Six games until the end of this painful season, and all we really need is either 4 wins, or 3 wins and 3 draws, both performances would lift us to the 54 points mark which should be enough to preserve our League One status. Having completed a tricky series of games against the front-runners (with no reward), a game against Oxford United would seem to present a genuine opportunity for a home win - and indeed a month or so ago they looked almost dead and buried, but their recent form has lifted them to the top half of the table, 7 points ahead of us. Just take the most recent 4 games - in Walsall’s case that has meant zero points, but our opponents have picked up 10 points from their most recent 4 fixtures. They’ve only scored 4 more goals than us, but a tighter defence sees their goal difference at only -8 compared to our -21. Current League One form:-

Mar 2 Scunthorpe Utd (H) Won 2-1
Mar 9 Gillingham (A) Lost 1-0
Mar 12 Rochdale (A) Drew 0-0
Mar 16 Bradford City (H) Won 1-0
Mar 23 Coventry City (A) Won 0-1
Mar 30 Wycombe Wanderers (H) Won 2-1

Oxford United’s manager Karl Robinson has one rather unusual aspect to his career - in his playing days (1999 to 2007) he was quite a mover, playing for 12 different clubs and amassing a total of 48 appearances … but all his clubs were non-league! Management has seen him at M K Dons and Charlton Athletic before his current position, and he also reportedly turned down an offer to be Head Coach at Leeds United.

Following 4 straight defeats, what will Dean Keates come up with to turn our fortunes around? The quality of our football does not seem to have been the problem - our downfall (as in many instances this season) has been sloppy defending coupled with a lack of appreciation that the game is 90 minutes long, or even 95 minutes in some cases. Giving goals and soft penalties away in the first 10 minutes or in time added on inevitably means that a win, or even a draw, becomes unattainable. Keates’ big decision would appear to be whether (and when) to use Andy Cook. His introduction with 30 seconds to play was a classic “Face Palm” moment, and the next game he did come on much earlier - but it has to be said that in some ways our performances were equally (if not more) effective during his 3 match suspension. Of course it hasn’t helped that Jarvis is unavailable through injury, so there isn’t the quality of crosses on which Cook thrives.

The team selection has already been discussed on a separate thread, so in the spirit of Saddler optimism we go to a prediction … it has to be a scrappy 1-0 win, courtesy of the much maligned Nicky Devlin.

UTS

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#2

3 points is a MUST from this game as we need that feeling of winning to build confidence and momentum for the games that follow . UTS

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#3

Plus my son is mascot on Saturday ( so got to win for him):wink:

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#4

I think we will win 2-0.

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#5

Good luck to your lad Gavin77 and I hope he (and the rest of us) are cheering at 5 ish

That said, I’m fearful of our ability to find ways to lose games in any circumstances so I’m reluctantly going for a 1-3 reverse (The U’s will play with freedom and confidence due to recent results with all the pressure on us!)

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#6

Must must must must win…

2-2 it is then and the slow death in league one goes on. Probably 94th minute goal from Oxford as they seem to be good at that recently.

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#7

2-1 defeat - Oxford score 89th minute equaliser and 94th minute winner. Game finishes on 95 minutes and we all troop home planning our weekend away in Morecambe and our Boxing Day trip to Grimsby

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#8

Heart maybe ruling my head again . 2-1 win for my boy. Cook recalled to the starting line up and netting a brace in front of the oxford fans … giving abit of the old bastardry as he scores the winner in injury time as we come from behind after a goal at the start of the game .( stuff of dreams)

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#9

This team is easily capable of a fighting 2-1 win, but due to the below par managerial expertise we may realistically anticipate a frustrating 1-1 or 1-2 defeat depending on how incompetent Keates is feeling on the day.

The last 15 minutes to be ‘all Oxford’ whatever happens. Keates to blame the players for naive errors if the result goes against us, despite being the intellectual equivalent of boiled cabbage.

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#10

One side experts at conceding late goals other side experts at scoring late goals, let’s pray it’s not 0 0 at 90 mins.

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#11

These are the types of games where we tend to grab a result.

Big question is … has our luck ran out ? Huge game

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#12

Think this game is more of a must not lose than must win considering the games coming up. 2-2 draw. Which won’t be the worst result in the world.

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#13

As I am coming down for this I will let my heart rule my head - comfortable 3-1 win.

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#14

Well here we go again. For the third time this year I think we have a must win game at home this Saturday. Following on from Bradford, Fleetwood , now we have Oxford. We so badly need a win to get us back in the pack and give us hope, we cannot afford to get cut adrift. We all know the drill, the club, the manager, the players all need us the fans to do our job this weekend. Lets get there, even the stay away fans, lets back the players for 90 minutes , even if we concede the first goal. This game is so important in our season, we need to win with Accrington and Southend to come. Good luck lads

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#15

It’s been set up perfectly by that loony phoning WM and playing totally into Franksy’s hands - again!
Bonser Out can wait for the moment thank you, the lads need help at the moment.

Martin O’Connor spoke very well indeed, choosing his words very carefully and sounding utterly professional. I hope the team were listening - and the manager for that matter.

Here’s a clip of Andreas Makris scoring to get everyone in the right frame of mind:

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#16

Genuinely one of my favourite moments from that season. Only the 1-0 win at Sheffield Utd probably topped it.

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#17

Must win. Yes we’ve put in good performances but now we need a result to make up for it.

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#18

I’m feeling like this is a defining moment for us. It has been said to many times lets get through this tough run of fixtures and then we have winnable fixtures. Easy to say not so easy to achieve. Equally, all our next 6 opponents will be looking at us and saying the very same thing. They will all be filled with optimism and expectancy. This is about getting the job done, no excuses. We’re at home! Years gone by we would have all had expectancy of a win at home yet in recent times that has gone.

TLDR; We simply have to win this, heart tells me 2-0 win for us, head tells me 1-1 draw or narrow defeat and the realisation we are going down this time come 5:15pm. Either way i’ll be there behind the goal lower tier. Up the Saddler’s.

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#19

Ozzy from the halfway line would be mine.

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#20

Lets really get behind the team now and till the end of the season .
Hope everyone is up for making a great atmosphere , and get the Banks’s stadium rockin’.

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