MATCH REPORT | Oxford United 0 Lincoln City 1

An early Danny Mandriou penalty in the second-half provided Lincoln City with a 1-0 win as Oxford United’s three-game winning run came to an end.

Despite late pressure against a Lincoln team reduced to 10 men late in the game, the U’s failed to find a vital goal as they remain in the play-offs by two points ahead of the visitors.

Lincoln City had been the form team in the division, but a late defeat to Wigan Athletic on Saturday brought an end to a 16-game unbeaten streak.

That run catapulted the visitors into the play-off picture. However, Oxford’s recent form of 13 goals in three games brought nine crucial points and meant the U’s entered this tie in the coveted sixth spot.

Lincoln’s loss didn’t alter what was going to be a tough test for Des Buckingham’s side and they showed their quality early in the game, with Paudie O’Connor and Freddie Draper missing two chances with their head inside the opening 15 minutes.

United showcased their best football of the season in Saturday’s 5-0 win over Peterborough United and they were back at it halfway through the first half, with Tyler Goodrham forcing the first effort on target on 25 minutes following a lovely passing move.

The U’s were playing the ball around nicely and another stunning spell of possession ended with Greg Leigh bombing into the box and cutting back for Goodhram in space 12 yards out, but Lukas Jensen made a fine save.

It was an end-to-end first half as it drew to a close and both teams spurned chances, the best of them falling to Mark Harris who had a first-time shot saved on 37 minutes, then he tapped another wide right on the 45th minute.

0-0 at half-time, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long as Lincoln City opened the scoring right at the start of the second half.

The goal came from the penalty spot after Ben House was brought down with a challenge from behind and up stepped Mandriou, who lashed the ball right down the middle and in.

Lincoln had a few more opportunities through Taylor and Draper, but the visitors were happy to back off and try and settle for the 1-0 score, allowing Oxford to attack and dominate possession.

Cameron Brannagan missed Saturday’s win through injury but he was back in action as he came off the bench, and he went close to getting the equaliser on 69 minutes with a trademark long-range shot which Jensen had to tip away from his top-right corner.

With seven minutes remaining, Lincoln were reduced to 10 when Dylan Duffy was shown a red card for a poor challenge on Marcus Browne.

That prompted the late charge from Oxford, but they failed to find the final touch to get the equaliser, with Billy Bodin having the last chance as he curled a free-kick just wide in the final moments.

All eyes now turning to Stevenage at home on Friday night to get back to winning ways.

Attendance: 9,587 including 1,114 away

Fifty/50: ticket number 132960 wins £924

Report: Ryan Maher

Photos: JasonPix, Steve Daniels, Steve Edmunds, Darrell Fisher

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