In my absence this afternoon, Jake Tonge has been on hand to write the first match report on the Stacey West by another writer.
Well, where do I even start with that? I’m walking away from Sincil Bank not embarrassed but just disappointed. Were we that bad? Or were Oxford just a million miles better than us? Well it was a bit of both.
Coming into the game I was optimistic. Oxford hadn’t won on the road this season and we’d only lost one at home courtesy of some dodgy officiating last weekend. Looking at the performances at home this season, we’ve come out of the traps quickly. Getting the early goal and forcing them to come onto us. That suits us 100%.
So when Oxford started on the front foot, I thought that would play into our hands. Clearly, I was wrong. The start was in my eyes worse than at Rochdale. Sloppy going forward to say the least with the same phases of play repeating themselves across the back line. Oxford hadn’t come for just a point like it appeared that Bristol Rovers had the week before. In the early exchanges, they were slick in possession, giving the ball of Tariqe Fosu on nearly ever occasion.
Was it a shock to see Oxford take the lead? Probably not. They looked sharp from the off and caused us a lot of problems defensively. Just five minutes it took for the visitors to strike. Intricate play around the edge of the box saw Fosu presented with a striking opportunity. He made no mistake and cooly placed it out of the reach of Vickers. From my seat in the lower Co-op it appeared that Fosu had found the corner to precision. No complaints but from that moment on, there was a sense that we weren’t get anything from the game.
Perhaps in the period after their first was when we played our best football of the match. Bruno Andrade went close after Joe Morrell had turned over possession. A couple of corners followed but door delivery meant that the cross barely beat the man guarding the near post. It was becoming too easy for Oxford.
Whilst I may hide behind my poor view for the first goal, the second cannot be excused. A through ball sliced our defence open. Shackell was left exposed by the rest of the sides positioning. When the ball treacled towards the box, I think the majority of the ground anticipated that Vickers would claim and set us up again. Howeve,r a lapse in concentration saw Fosu nick in and slot the ball into the goal once more. Cue pandemonium in the Stacey West but boos from three quarters of the ground.
Two down at the break. Surely an early goal could see us come back and try and salvage a point. A lacklustre start saw the lead grow for the U’s. Former QPR and Forest man Jamie Mackie weaved his way down the right-hand side of the penalty area and curved an effort off the post and into the net. His effort looked to have been curling harmlessly out of play, but it curved back inside the post. More frustration amongst the City ranks.
The poor performance was taken to another level just six minutes later. James Henry was allowed the freedom of the Lincoln City penalty area to volley home a fourth. Seemingly it fell of a defensive body and perfectly into his path. You have to applaud the technique but again defensively the Imps looked shook. Unsure of where they needed to be positioned.
If you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse, you was wrong. Fosu completed his hat-trick with fifteen to play. His effort from 35 yards crashed into the top corner with Vickers rooted to the spot. It felt at that point that every single shot that Oxford were having, it was flying into the net. If you break the goal down, Fosu was given the freedom of the city to get into a shooting position and unleashing a rocket into the goal.
Matty Taylor made it six. The less said the better. What looked like a free header managed to squeeze past Vickers. Hundreds of fans headed for the exit but what really made the afternoon for me was the way the supporters stuck with the players. Even six nil down, they were chanting and encouraging the lads. Their support was awarded the ‘Man of the Match’ award by BBC Radio Lincolnshire.
On a weekend where there will be bad memories on the pitch, off the pitch, City fans were outstanding. It will encourage the new manager as he watched on from the stands. I can’t see Lincoln playing as poorly as that again this season but I think it just showed what a bit of experience at this level can achieve. Oxford looked more street smart and cuter than us.