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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

16 March 2021 Venue The Kassam Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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PREVIEW | Oxford United vs Rovers

16 March 2021

Rovers will be looking to complete a league double over Oxford United when they travel to the Kassam Stadium in Sky Bet League One on Tuesday night.

Andy Butler’s side were held to a goalless draw by Northampton Town in their last outing. 

Oxford’s recent form 

Oxford have won one of their past six league games stretching back to a 1-0 home defeat against Portsmouth on February 23. They then took a point on the road at MK Dons, before back-to-back goalless draws against Peterborough United and Charlton Athletic respectively. 

They got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory against local rivals Swindon Town, before being beaten 2-0 at Hull City in their last outing. 

The man in charge 

Former MK Dons and Charlton Athletic manager Karl Robinson was appointed as Oxford boss in March 2018, replacing Pep Clotet in the role. He helped guide the team to the Sky Bet League One play-off final last season, where they were beaten by Wycombe Wanderers. Since his appointment, Robinson has been in charge of 164 Oxford managers, winning 67, drawing 47 and losing 50, giving him an overall win percentage of 40.9%.  

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 more 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, having scored five times so far this season. 


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


Last time out 

Rovers ran out 3-2 winners in an entertaining contest between the two sides at the Keepmoat Stadium back in February. Jon Taylor had given Rovers the lead before Sam Long drew the U’s level before the break. Two quick goals from Fejiri Okenabirhie and Taylor Richards all but sealed the victory, with Olamide Shodipo pulling a goal back to set up a tense finale. 

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Match Reports

REPORT | Oxford United 3 Rovers 0

16 March 2021

Three first half goals from Oxford United condemned injury-stricken Rovers to another defeat on the road.

Goals from Matty Taylor (2) and Olamide Shodipo within 24 minutes put the home side firmly in control and while Rovers were better second half, they weren’t able to really trouble Jack Stevens in the Us goal.

It was a frantic and even opening 20 with expansive and, on occasions, sloppy passing from both teams leading to end-to-end football.

Rovers registered the first shot of the afternoon when Taylor Richards’ hit the target with just five minutes on the clock, but Rovers played themselves into danger on more than one occasion with Louis Jones making early saves from Matty Taylor and Liam Kelly.

The Us keeper Jack Stevens was also busy making saves a Joe Wright header and Fejiri Okenabirhie – while a second Richards effort needed a good block to take it off target.

On the 19th minute, the hosts took the lead through Taylor – the host’s no.9 pounced on a ricocheting ball in the box after Rovers were unable to deal with a cross from Brandon Barker who had been causing Andy Butler’s men problems on the right.

The goal completely changed the game entirely giving the home side all the momentum and the Us didn’t look back.

Cameron Brannagan could have doubled the U’s lead five minutes later – his effort from distance took a horrible bobble and demanded a decent save by Jones in the end to keep it out. The corner kick delivery also caused problems and it was Danny Amos with the vital touch to take Elliott Moore’s venomous shot away from danger.

At the other end, some nice play around the box was failing to translate into shots with James Coppinger’s shot on the half-hour mark – which might have troubled Stevens if not for a deflection – the only effort of note.

Oxford dominated possession winning corners and free kicks without really troubling the Rovers defence, but they turned the screw five minutes before the break scoring twice in quick succession.

Taylor got his second, heading in from Kelly’s deep free-kick delivery following a foul on Olamide Shodipo and Shodipo got the third minutes later when the ball fell to him and he fired a thunderbolt effort beyond Jones.

Jones was in the action early in the second half with Shodipo the man involved again. His effort was dipping and weaving but the youngster got down well to his right to push it wide and he was needed again to save Brannagan’s effort from distance, and a second effort by Shodipo and another by Barker.

More injury woes for Rovers came when AJ Greaves went off on the hour mark. He was replaced by Madger Gomes while Branden Horton replaced Danny Amos for his league debut. Jason Lokilo also came into the fray in place of Elliot Simoes.

The Belgian winger made an early impact with a dangerous cross across the face of the Us six-yard line but it evaded Okenabirhie and Richards and was cleared. The duo of Lokilo and Okenabirhie almost bore fruit again – this time the no.9s effort was blocked for a corner.

As the games timer ticked down and the game all but won, Rovers were afforded more of the ball. Richards sent a free kick from the edge of the box over the bar, Wright had a header blocked, and Gomes’ stinging effort from range collided with Okenabirhie.

Karl Robinson’s substitute also made an impact – none more so that Dan Agyei – who very nearly put the ball in with his first action of the game dragging his goal just wide of the far post just before Okenabirhie flashed another effort just wide of the far post.

Rovers best chances of the game came later in the game. Gomes forced a decent save from Stevens with five minutes remaining while Rob Atkinson was needed to clear Taylor Richards' effort off the line.

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