Home loss to high-flying Oxford means frustration for Lincoln and Tom Shaw

By Sports Desk October 31, 2023

Lincoln interim head coach Tom Shaw was frustrated after his unbeaten run in temporary charge came to an end, with Oxford coasting to a 2-0 Sky Bet League One victory at a foggy Sincil Bank.

An early goal from Ciaran Brown, plus a second-half goalkeeping howler from home keeper Lukas Jensen, saw second-placed Oxford dominate the Imps, ending their own three-game winless run in fine style.

For Shaw it was a dose of harsh reality following two victories and a draw and he admitted his players had not reached the levels they had previously.

“It was a disappointing night after a very good run,” admitted Shaw. “There will be some reasons for it, which will be understandable, but we come away frustrated after not giving a performance we were hoping for.

“We’ve had a really tough run of games, with a lot of travel, and we just struggled to get to our physical and mental best. They [Oxford] are a very good side with some talented players.

“We were not aggressive enough with the ball. It was probably too ‘nice’ a football match which suited Oxford a little bit more.

“We started well, but then conceded a soft goal. We tried to find a spark and the lads kept trying but we just couldn’t find it and we didn’t create enough volume around their goal.”

Shaw defended big Danish stopper Jensen after his 64th-minute calamity sealed his side’s fate, adding: “He’ll be disappointed as his standards are so high. He has been fantastic and there’s no drama from us.”

The visitors took the lead after 12 minutes, from their first attack, when Brown headed Cameron Brannagan’s near-post corner into the roof of the net.

Oxford could have had more goals, but Jensen denied both substitute Stan Mills and Tyler Goodrham. However, his calamitous error gifted the visitors their second goal, when he attempted to catch Mills’ cross-cum-shot from the right, but only succeeded in fumbling it into his own net.

Oxford boss Liam Manning was delighted with his side’s showing as they bossed large parts of the game.

He said: “It was a real professional performance from us and I am delighted with the players, although it was frustrating at times as in the first half we created some terrific opportunities but didn’t take them. But huge amount of credit to the players.

“We had to make a change early on, bring Stan [Mills] on and we changed the system, and it just shows where the lads are at. I thought we restricted Lincoln to very little, especially in the second half.”

Mills came on after just eight minutes for the injured Sam Long and Manning praised his all-action display, while he also claimed an important assist.

“You forget how young he is,” said Manning. “He can change games, his behaviour is great and I thought he did really well tonight.”

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