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Oxford Utd 1-2 Northwich

James Constable
Constable's 26th goal of the season was not enough for Oxford

Oxford's season ended in anticlimactic fashion as their play-off dream died with a defeat by relegated Northwich, who made it six wins in a row.

Matt Crowell scored an injury-time winner for Victoria from the edge of the area after James Constable had levelled for United late on.

Vics led in first-half injury-time, Jamie Mullan firing past Billy Turley from outside the box.

The game was marred by fans invading the pitch after Constable's goal.

United's result was academic because of results elsewhere and Constable's 26th goal of the season was followed by Oxford fans coming on to the pitch, which resulted in a brawl.

Following Constable's strike from Adam Murray's ball, a United fan took the corner flag and hit Vics defender Danny Meadowcroft with it.

A melee ensued involving both teams' substitutes after Vics boss Andy Preece called for his players to leave the pitch.


The result was only Oxford's third league defeat since Chris Wilder's arrival as manager in December.

The fact they had a chance on the final day was remarkable, considering the fact they trailed the top five by 14 points in January, following a controversial five-point deduction.

In fact, they would have finished fifth if it were not for the points deduction for fielding an unregistered player.

In front of a Blue Square Premier season record crowd of 10,298 both teams had chances in the first half.

Yemi Odubade, a surprise starter, was lively and went close with an impressive volley from Chris Carruthers' brilliant ball and only a Danny Meadowcroft block denied him an opener minutes later.

Vics went close through Simon Grand, who headed over from Joel Byrom's corner.

And as both teams were preparing for half-time, Mullan fired home only his second goal of his Northwich career to stun the partisan Kassam Stadium crowd into silence.

United, who needed a win to have any chance of finishing in the top five, pushed for the victory in the second half.

Adam Chapman had a long-range drive fly over the bar straight from the restart and top scorer Constable fired wide from inside the area.

Luke Foster then had a top corner-bound header saved well by Ryan Clarke.

Moments later, the Vics keeper again denied Craig Farrell, who should have finished from close range after United's penalty appeals for Odubade being brought down were rejected.

Constable then fired home from close range to give United hope of at least ending the season with a victory but, after a lengthy hold-up following the invasion, Crowell broke Oxford's hearts, although the home fans gave their team a rapturous round of applause for their efforts in the second half of the season.

A win would not have been enough for United, owing to Torquay's 2-1 victory over newly-crowned champions Burton.

Vics will start next season in Blue Square North boosted by their end-of-season revival, which came too late to save them from the drop.

Oxford Utd: Turley, Batt, Foster, Sandwith, Carruthers (Nelthorpe 71), Odubade, Murray, Chapman, Clist, Haldane (Farrell 52), Constable.
Subs Not Used: Hinchliffe, Day, Hutchinson.

Booked: Clist, Batt, Foster, Chapman.

Goals: Constable 84.

Northwich: Clarke, Meadowcroft, Grand, Bailey (Riley 71), Horrocks, Elam, Byrom, Joyce, Mullan, Allan, Burns (Crowell 61).
Subs Not Used: Farran, Richards.

Booked: Byrom, Horrocks, Riley.

Goals: Mullan 45, Crowell 90.

Att: 10,298.

Ref: M Naylor (England).

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see also
Five-point deduction for Oxford
12 Jan 09 |  Oxford Utd

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