Oxford United, after 9 games in League One, find themselves lacking a ruthless edge to their game with their recent 1-1 draw against Gillingham typifying their blunt nature.
Dominant for most of the contest at The Kassam, with 73% possession and 25 shots on goal, Karl Robinson’s men have reason to be a little disappointed with only a point from this encounter.
A story of their season somewhat, a 1-0 defeat at Cheltenham coming even with more of the ball and more shots registered by Oxford themselves a week prior.
With inconsistent form so far, Oxford might need to change their approach in order to score more, and in tandem, win more games as a consequence.
Herbie Kane’s recent interview with the Witney Gazette lifted the lid on a change in play involving Matty Taylor: “Throughout the week we’ve been trying to get him to stay in the centre, so it’s good our work has paid off. We need to trust that the ball’s going to come and Matty’s going to finish, because that’s what he does. If we keep doing it, the more he’s going to score.”
Obvious frustrations also came to the forefront, Kane stating: “The lads are frustrated, but we thought we controlled the game throughout. It was just that final pass we couldn’t get right, but we take the point and recover for Tuesday.”
Kane assisted for Matty Taylor’s early opener, stating his overall joy of playing further up the field: “I like playing a bit higher up the pitch, just so I can be involved in goals and assisting. I’m happy to do both jobs and wherever the gaffer wants to play me I’ll do my best.”
Even with his contribution, Alex MacDonald spoiled the day for The Gills.
With the talent at Karl Robinson’s disposal at The Kassam – Cameron Brannagan a standout name for The U’s – you would imagine that this blunt approach that has warranted concern won’t be a consistent theme of their season.
Always in and around the play-off spots in League One, off the back of a failed play-off semi-final last season, it could be a case that Oxford’s season is a slow burner rather than an immediate success story this campaign.
With Matty Taylor netting, and Herbie Kane remaining patient in spite of frustrations, the goals and wins should come for Oxford United sooner rather than later.