JUSTIN Richards was left to rue a bad bounce as he missed Oxford United’s best chance in their defeat to Sheffield United.

With the score only at 1-0, the striker was played through by Tom Craddock with just keeper George Long to beat.

It was the game’s decisive moment, but Richards was unable to get a shot away quickly and ended up chipping the ball just wide.

An equaliser might have meant the U’s made it into yesterday’s fourth-round draw, but the Blades ruthlessly made the most of the let-off to score twice more.

Richards was bitterly disappointed not to make the most of the golden chance.

He said: “I wanted to hit it first time, but as it dropped, it was slightly awkward.

“I tried to get a touch and lift it over the keeper, but it didn’t quite go to plan.”

He added: “I think the scoreline flattered them a little bit and with a bit more luck in front of goal the result could have been different.”

The 32-year-old had only joined from Burton Albion 24 hours earlier.

It is his second loan spell with the U’s, after playing 15 games for the club five seasons ago.

Richards has been brought in as cover during James Constable’s four-game suspension, but he jumped at the chance.

Out of contract in the summer, the former West Brom trainee is keen to make the most of the stay.

He said: “When you’re not playing and Oxford ring you up, it’s a no-brainer really.

“They’re a big club in the division and why wouldn’t you want to go there?

“I just want to play games, score goals and not spurn chances like that.

“I’m fit and able, but Burton don’t want to play me, so it tells it’s own story – it’s not rocket science.

“One door closes, but another opens, so I’ve just got to do the best I can to put myself out there and hopefully something can happen.

“Obviously I’m here to do well for Oxford, they gave me the opportunity to come and play, so first and foremost that’s my priority.”