Oxford United manager Michael Appleton was not content with his side’s 0-0 draw against Northampton on Saturday, describing the result as ‘two points dropped’ in their quest for a play-off place this season.
After a drab first-half littered with mistakes, both teams created enough chances to win Saturday’s encounter at Sixfields during a more open second period but neither were able to convert when it mattered.
Matty Taylor missed the game’s best opportunity, denied from the spot by U’s goalkeeper Simon Eastwood, while Kane Hemmings shot straight at Adam Smith in Oxford’s clearest opening.
Those misses meant each side had to settle for a point, but whilst most felt that was a fair outcome, Appleton did not agree, saying his side’s second-half performances merited more.
“I thought it was more a case of two points dropped rather than one gained,” said the United boss afterwards.
“I thought going forward, especially second-half, we were outstanding but we just didn’t have that killer instinct to go and finish it off.
“Kane had the chance to win it. You’ve got to give the goalkeeper some credit because he stood up to big and made the save with his feet and he made some other crucial saves.
“It’s just frustrating because I thought we did more than enough to go on and win it, certainly second-half.
“I was really happy with the performance. The pitch is a good one but it was a bit dry because of the wind and that made it difficult for us to pass the ball quickly.
“I know Northampton missed a penalty but that only came about because of some ridiculous decision-making. If you do the basics right you will keep clean sheets, if you give away penalties you put yourself in danger.
“But it was a great save by Simon Eastwood and I think his save probably gave us a lift at the time.
“You can dress it up as much as you want but you’ve got to take opportunities when they come along, especially in a tight game like that.”