Des Buckingham thinking of family after first Oxford win

By Sports Desk December 16, 2023

Oxford boss Des Buckingham felt getting a first league win under his belt was probably more of a relief for his family than for him after the 3-0 victory over Burton.

Two goals from Ruben Rodrigues and one from Marcus McGuane earned the U’s a comfortable victory and the scoreline could have been double that.

Former Oxford goalkeeper Max Crocombe pulled off a string of saves to keep the score down, and Burton also cleared four attempts off the line in one crazy 10-second spell.

Oxford-born Buckingham said: “I think it’s a relief for my dad and my family.

“The first people that speak to me are my family and my friends… I don’t need reminding from anyone else.

“This week we set up to do something and I started to change things and put more of a stamp on what we are doing.

“The players have been excellent in training this week and I’m extremely pleased with what I have seen today.

“We prepared ourselves as well as we could and I don’t think Burton had a shot on goal.

“With the exception of Max Crocombe in their goal, who I thought had a wonderful game, we could have had a couple more as well.

“I worked with Max when he was the youth-team keeper here – it’s the third time I’ve bumped into him, we also crossed paths in Australia and New Zealand.

“He’s obviously disappointed with the result but I’ve just said to him ‘you can’t be disappointed with that performance you’ve put in’.

“I think they cleared four off the line in the space of 10 seconds. And we hit the post just before that.

“The most important thing is that you keep the control and keep doing what’s got you the opportunities – and that’s what we kept doing.

“It took a very good strike from Ruben for the second, and then it was a wonderful strike from Marcus for the third.

“The work rate that our wingers put in is phenomenal, not just in going forward but in getting back.”

Harris was twice thwarted by Crocombe, but also missed other opportunities.

“The goals will come for Mark Harris,” added Buckingham. “The way we’ve set the team up he’ll get chances.

“He had two wonderful chances today and their keeper’s made great saves. As long as he continues doing what he’s doing, the goals will come – and when they do they’ll be like London buses.”

Burton’s caretaker boss Gary Mills said: “We asked the lads to give everything and I’m really proud of them. They worked really hard and showed real character.

“We wanted them to go out there, enjoy it and show bravery. In patches they showed some decent stuff and the blocks they put in showed real commitment.

“After the match, I thanked the lads for their efforts. I was concerned that Oxford had so many opportunities – they got into our final third too much.

“We didn’t close the ball down enough from a deep line. But they were quality finishes and Oxford are a good side – there’s no doubt about that.

“They’re a big club with big resources and a really good squad. They’ll be challenging.

“We didn’t work the Oxford goalkeeper enough. But this is the start of a journey and while we’re in charge we’ll try and get more players in attacking areas on the pitch with more crosses and more shots.”

Mills has taken temporary charge from Dino Maamria, who departed in the week.

Mills added: “I don’t know how long we’ll be in charge but we’ll try and deliver something that is attacking and enjoyable to watch – something to get the crowd off their seats. But it’s not going to happen for us overnight.”

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