MICHAEL Appleton urged his Oxford United side to show more adventure going forward after they went down to a 1-0 opening day defeat at home to Burton Albion.

The hosts had the majority of possession and used it well at times, but created few clear-cut goalscoring opportunities.

Burton made the most of their best chance, when Lucas Akins scored just before half-time, and the visitors defended stoutly after the break to take maximum points in the Sky Bet League Two clash.

Appleton, United’s head coach, said: “I suppose the only disappointment for myself is I want the players to be a little bit braver around the edge of the box and take a few more risks.

“We turned down a couple of shooting opportunities or chances to get the ball into the box.”

And although the U’s boss is looking to bring in new faces up front before the transfer window closes on September 1, he wants to see more from his existing attacking options.

“The players that are in the side to create or give us that bit of magic in and around the box. They’re the ones that have got to step up to the plate,” he said.

“It’s dead simple. They all know their roles, I’ve made that very clear and they will be accountable, as I will, when we make poor decisions.”

The game’s main talking point surrounded Michael Raynes playing on after falling heavily on his head.

Shortly afterwards, the centre back was unable to halt Stuart Beavon running into the box and setting up Akins for the winner.

Appleton, who swiftly replaced Raynes with Johnny Mullins, admitted it was a difficult decision.

He said: “If he had a fresh head and a clear mind then (the goal) might not have happened.

“But in the build-up to the incident the ball didn’t go out of play, so we couldn’t have done anything anyway.”

He added: “I spoke to Andy (Proctor, physio) and he said he (Raynes) didn’t feel great. But he’s a centre half and they’re made of strong stuff.

“At the end of the day it was one of those where I don’t think he was knocked out, so it wasn’t one of these controversial concussions.

“It was just a player who wanted to stay on and if there’s no physical cut, graze or whatever it might be it’s difficult to say no to them.”

Despite the result, Appleton felt there were positive signs to take from the game.

He said: “There were a lot of encouraging things to come out of it.

“I thought we moved the ball really well and we did look a good side.

“We are just lacking a cutting edge at the minute.”

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Latest United news:

'font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"'>Latest United news: