The Lions gave it a real go at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday night in the second leg of the Johnstone’s Paint Southern Area Final but fell a goal short of forcing penalties.
We dominated the match in terms of possession and the one nil win was the least we deserved after a gutsy display. Unfortunately just 10 minutes after Lee Gregory opened the scoring on 54 minutes, defender Mark Beevers was shown a second yellow card and we were down to 10 men.
We still created some chances but had we kept 11 men on the pitch we would have created even more chances and I think we would have got that second goal.
A Wembley trip would have been a great day out for our promising team but now we switch our focus solely onto the League and an appearance in the Play-Off Final would be more than adequate compensation.
Qualifying for the Play-offs will not be an easy task though. The 1-1 draw with relegation threatened Crewe Alexandra on Saturday at The Den was a very disappointing result.
We dominated the match but failed to take the chances on offer. After half an hour this started to be a concern. Supporters started to wonder whether it would be one of those games where on paper should be very comfortable but in reality failing to take chances.
Our keeper Jordan Archer then conceded a second half penalty which he was a touch lucky not to get sent off for. Gregory equalised with a penalty himself but then missed the opportunity to win the game with yet another penalty which hit the inside of the post and rebounded to safety much to the annoyance of all Lions supporters in the ground.
Saturday’s visit to the Bescot Stadium to take on promotion chasing Walsall will be a tough test. We put in a below par performance when we lost 1-0 to them on Boxing Day so I hope we should be motivated enough to avenge that defeat.
Manager Neil Harris recently made an important move to extend winger Jed Wallace’s loan from Wolves by an extra two months which keeps the impressive Wallace at the club until April at least. Wallace’s match fitness is improving with every match he plays.
He is quick in thought, has good skill, plenty of pace and able to put in dangerous crosses. He is a massive improvement on anything we have at the club. With that much talent I doubt he is a player we would get to sign permanently from Wolves at this point in time so we have to enjoy what he brings to us whilst we have him.
In the other direction Lee Martin extended his loan to Northampton for the remainder of the season and young striker Alfie Pavey extended his loan at Aldershot for another month.