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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

3-2
06 February 2021 Venue The Keepmoat Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Rovers vs Oxford United

5 February 2021

Rovers take on Oxford United on Saturday looking to make it five straight wins in Sky Bet League One.

Darren Moore’s side produced a battling display to beat promotion chasing Lincoln City at the LNER Stadium last time out. 

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Club News

Oxford United digital programme now available

5 February 2021

Oxford’s recent form

The U’s are the division’s form team having won all of their previous six matches, stretching back to a 2-0 victory over AFC Wimbledon on Boxing Day. They ended 2020 with a 3-2 win at Plymouth Argyle, before securing another three points in their first game of the new year on the road at Burton Albion. 

Their form has continued to improve since then, with a 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers followed up by a 4-3 win at Rochdale, before they beat Fleetwood Town in their last league outing. 

 

The man in charge 

Former MK Dons and Charlton Athletic manager was appointed as Oxford boss in March 2018, replacing Pep Clotet in the role. Since his appointment, Robinson has been in charge of 152 Oxford managers, winning 63, drawing 43 and losing 46, giving him an overall win percentage of 41.4%. 

 

Ones to watch  

Josh Ruffels 

After coming through the ranks at Coventry City, Ruffels joined Oxford on a free transer in the summer of 2013. Since then, the left-back has gone on to make almost 250 appearances for the club, including help the team establish themselves at Sky Bet League One level after promotion in the 2015/16 campaign. 

The 27-year-old has a good eye for goal, and bagged the winner in their last outing against Fleetwood Town to continue a run of four goals in his past five games. 

 

Cameron Brannagan 

A product of the Liverpool academy, Brannagan made three first-team appearances for the Premier League champions before joining Oxford on a permanent deal in January 2018. Prior to that move, he had already gained some EFL experience after spending six months on loan at Fleetwood.  

Since his arrival at the Kassam Stadium, the 24-year-old has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the division, with Oxford working hard to retain his services in recent transfer windows. 

 

Matty Taylor 

The Oxford-born striker began his career with his hometown club before signing for Forest Green Rovers in 2011. After three years at The New Lawn, Taylor signed for Bristol Rovers when they were playing in the National League. He scored 20 goals in his first season with the GAS, before bagging 28 the season after, which helped them to back-to-back promotions into Sky Bet League One. 

19 goals in the first-half of the campaign saw him coveted by plenty of clubs in higher divisions, but it was rivals Bristol City who secured his services in January 2017. His time on the red side of the City struggled to get off the ground though, and he returned to Oxford, initially on loan, in the summer of 2019. The 30-year-old found the back of the net 17 times in his first season back at the Kassam Stadium, helping the club reach the play-off final, where they were beaten 2-1 by Wycombe Wanderers. 

He penned a permanent deal in the summer, and has already scored 11 times so far this season. 

 

Last time out 

It is more than a year since the two sides last met, with Reece James scoring the only goal of the game to secure a 1-0 victory for Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium back on New Year’s Day 2020. 

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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 3 Oxford United 2

6 February 2021

Rovers stop the winning run of Oxford United while extending their own run to nine wins in 10 league games.

There were two changes from last weekends victory over Lincoln City with Joe Wright and Elliot Simeos making way for Jon Taylor and Madger Gomes – with the latter starting his first game since returning from injury.  

John Bostock was named on the Rovers bench for the first time since signing for the club in January while Omar Bogle continues his period of isolation after testing positive Covid-19 before he met up with his new teammates.  

Both sides started the game in a lively manner with Rovers receiving two tight offside calls when in a dangerous position. Down the opposite end of the pitch Tom Anderson headed away a threatening free kick.  

Oxford possessed a good turn pace, perfectly showcased by Brandon Barker on their left wing who managed to wriggle his way round three Rovers men and continued to cause problems throughout the first half.  

A piercing attack from Robert Atkinson left Rovers with no choice but to stop him in his tracks having to settle for the free kick. Matt Smith excellently blocked the kick from close-range as it was taken, which was sure to sting.  

On the counter, Rovers won a free kick which Jon Taylor swung into the box, but Jack Stevens commanded his area well to come out and claim.  

Rovers took the lead after a brilliant break saw Matt Smith with a pass which covered about 30-yards of grass before unleashing Taylor who confidently tucked it past Stevens.  

Oxford equalised five minutes before half time with Balcombe saving Ruffles’ initial shot, but the follow up from Sam Long beat the Rovers keeper.  

The last of attack of the half saw Cameron John try his luck on goal – only to watch his effort spin wide. Meaning the game remained at 1-1 heading into the break. 

In the second-half Rovers came out all guns blazing with Fejiri Okenabirhie putting his side back in front. Moments later and Rovers would have a third after a sensational goal came from Richards who got his third in as many games.  

Unfortunately for the Brighton loanee his game was cut short due to injury but it meant Scott Robertson was able to make his debut for the club after joining on loan from Celtic.  

On the 70th minute substitute Olaminde Shoipo got one back for the visitors with it taking a deflection enroute to goal as the weather conditions worsened.  

A double change would follow for Darren Moore’s side with Madger Gomes and Jon Taylor coming off with Joe Wright and Jason Lokilo introduced to the game.  

Oxford were in decent with their tails up as they could scent a potential upset. Rovers had to keep their wits about them and remain tight in defence.  

With two minutes of normal time to go Bostock made his first appearance in red and white, replacing Okenabirhie.  

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