Dreadful second-half showing costs Strabane

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Dreadful second-half showing costs Strabane thumbnailKyle Harte on the ball for Strabane Athletic against Oxford Utd Stars

STRABANE Athletic conceded four goals in a dismal second-half showing to lose out 4-1 to Oxford United Stars, at the Melvin on Saturday.

Strabane Athletic.. 1
Oxford Utd Stars ... 4

A combination of poor finishing and good shot stopping kept the game scoreless at the interval, but in the second half, the visitors scored four times displaying some clinical finishing and Strabane were left counting the cost of the earlier missed chances.

Strabane kicked off but it was their goalkeeper who was first called upon to deny Healy with a good save and immediately after that, Porter played in Ferry who drew a fine save from McGilloway.

The home team dominated the early exchanges, Carlin had a shot just wide and the Oxford keeper parrieda free-kick round the post.

Strabane were passing the ball quite fluently at this stage creating several decent chances. McKelvey had a 20 yard screamer tipped over and from the corner, Hegarty headed Crawford's cross just wide.

On the quarter hour Porter again played inFerry only to see his shot tipped over the bar. The best chance of the game fell to Ferry after 20 minutes when, with the Oxford goalkeeper grounded, he slipped the ball inches wide of a gaping net.

The visitors responded quickly as Brown faced McElroy one on one but the Strabane keeper pulled off a fine save.

Athletic again applied pressure on the visitors' back row and Ferry just failed to convert a good through ball from Crawford, and McGilloway saved from Porter. As the half drew to a close, Oxford had two corners in as many minutes one of which was headed just over the Strabane crossbar.

After the interval, it was visitors who threatened first with Hargan heading wideand McElroy being forced to save from Healy.

The opener came 15 minutes into the half as Hargan crossed in to the Strabane goalmouth and Cusack volleyed into the net.

Oxford doubled the advantage five minutes later as Cusack latched on to a 50 yard pass from Tolandand cut in from the right to drill the ball past McElroy.

The home team then replaced Harte with Taylor wide on the left as they sought to reduce the deficit.

On 75 minutes, Oxford won a corner which was converted by Fagan as he headed in at the back post. Strabane forced Oxford on to the back foot now and with 10 minutes remaining, the home team pulled one back after Carlin had won the ball in his own half, forced his way into the box and played in Taylor who slotted in from 6 yards.

The game was now being played around the visitors back line, but they added a fourth as Strabane, who had committed men up front, were caught on the break and Devine completed the scoring.

As the referee was ready to blow, a 60 yard punt from inside the Oxford half bounced off the Strabane crossbar - or else it could have been five.

The result somewhat flattered the visitors. Had Strabane converted their chances, they could have been three up on the half hour and they enjoyed more possession throughout the entirety of the game, but it's goals that count as Oxford squandered fewer chances than Strabane.

Next up for Strabane is a league tie away to an in-form Ardstraw on Saturday at 2pm.

Strabane: R McElroy, S Doherty, R McBrearty, B Hegarty, R Graham, R McKelvey, A Porter, C Crawford, C Carlin, S Ferry, K Harte. Subs: S Duffy, D Forbes, D Taylor, O McShane.

Oxford: McGilloway, Fagan, Canning, Roddy, Toland, Devine, Cusack, Rainey, Healy, Hargan, Brown. Subs: Clarke, Hegarty, Mullan.


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