IT was hard not to feel a little flat as the final whistle blew on Oxford United's defeat to Accrington Stanley.

After impressing in defeat at Sunderland on Good Friday, there was real optimism that the U's could bounce back with a morale-boosting win over a depleted and out-of-form opponent.

But Accrington boss John Coleman reminded us of the excellent job he has done at arguably the smallest club in Sky Bet League One, as the visitors asked questions of United all afternoon despite missing ten players.

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Key to that was a midfield diamond that the U's never truly got to grips with, led by Paul Smyth - the best player on the pitch.

The Queens Park Rangers loanee was hard to pick up in the No 10 role, linked attacks intelligently and fizzed an excellent effort past Jack Stevens to open the scoring after 16 minutes.

It was the least Accrington deserved, especially after replays showed Dion Charles' effort from a corner moments earlier crossed the line, and they dominated much of the first half.

That being said, United's equaliser was a goal of real class.

Matty Taylor waited for Elliot Lee's run before playing the pass at the right time, while the Luton Town loanee had the composure to take a touch before finding the bottom corner.

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The U's sorely missed that clinical edge for the rest of the game, so often working the ball well until the move broke down before they had a clear sight of goal.

That is nothing new for United and we have spoken about the lack of ruthlessness many times before this season.

The contest opened up before Michael Nottingham's winning goal, which, while a great finish, came from the U's losing the first header and not clearing the second ball.

By that time, Sam Winnall had replaced James Henry and United were almost playing 4-2-4, which saw them lose their shape a little as they tried everything to score a second equaliser.  

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It did not come, leaving the U's six points short of the play-offs with seven matches left.

They still have a mathematical chance of reaching the top six, but from the way Karl Robinson was speaking after the game, attentions may already be turning to next season.