Robinson takes the blame as Oxford fall to Hatters loss

Former Hatters loanee Jonathan Mitchell denies James Collins an opening goal
Former Hatters loanee Jonathan Mitchell denies James Collins an opening goal

Oxford United boss Karl Robinson shouldered the blame for his side’s 2-1 defeat against Luton Town last night.

The U’s had actually put themselves in the position to win only their second league game of the season, as after a shocking first half display, they went ahead through Ricky Holmes’ strike, a rare moment of real quality from those in yellow.

However, James Collins soon levelled, while Shandon Baptiste was then sent off midway through the second period, Luton snatching victory in stoppage time thanks to Dan Potts’ header.

Robinson told the club’s official website: “I can’t ask for any more effort, sometimes you have to roll with the punches.

“We are sick of hurting week in week out but I have to be brutally honest and shoulder the blame because I am the manager.

"Tiger (chairman Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth knows how hard we work and knows what we are trying to achieve and there are so many things you could blame but I don’t want to sit here and do that.

“I think if you ask the players they will say that everything was done properly but at the end of the day it’s only the result that matters.

“It is a difficult place to be when you are the manager - a lonely place at times- but you have to take the brunt of it and I apologise to everybody.

“I have faith in myself and do think things have happened beyond our control in some games."

Robinson felt that the dismissal of Baptiste hindered his efforts to push for the victory, despite the fact he should have withdrawn the midfielder earlier, who was an accident waiting to happen.

He did defend his players for timewasting in their bid to hold on for a point, despite being the home side, Tony McMahon getting booked at the death for delaying a free kick.

He said: "At the time of the sending off we were set to make substitutions to go and try and win the game.

"We were bringing off Jon Obika and Shandon Baptiste and were actually going to do it earlier but Jamie Hanson took a knock and we were looking at whether he needed to come off or whether it was still Shandon.

“The ball then stayed in play for two or three minutes and then all of a sudden things changed. The sending off was just youthful exuberance and you have to go through moments like that with him; he is the future of this football club.

“Tactically I think we got it right. We found it hard to cope with them in the middle at times in the first half but I thought we started the second half really well but a little bit of naivety let them back in to it.

“I won’t apologise for hanging on for a draw at the end when we went down to 10 men but fundamentally, I have to take most of the burden for the defeat.”

However, Town boss Nathan Jones felt the sending off didn't really affect the outcome, as he added: "That was a clear second yellow, but he’s also committed one in the middle of the park before that, that he should have gone for.

"It’s harsh and I’ve appealed and I’ve got some stick for that, but he should have gone earlier, so if I don’t appeal and he doesn’t see it, that happens to my players all the time.

"Trust me, Danny Hylton’s not getting away with four challenges like Baptiste put in, so it was a justified red.

"Youthful exuberance, he wants to do well, he's a homegrown player, we understand it, but it was a clear red.

"I can’t say that cost them the game as I think we were by far the better side and I thought it was a wonderful away performance."