Smith frustrated with draw
Jim Smith

Oxford United boss Jim Smith was left frustrated as he saw his side throw away their lead to a last minute equaliser in their 2-2 draw with Dagenham.

The Conference leaders maintained their eleven point lead, and are now three wins from the title, thanks to a late goal from substitute Sam Sloma.

In truth, United deserved to win the match after a great second-half comeback capped by two fine goals from Nigerian striker Yemi Odubade, but it sadly wasn't to be.

The U's boss was captured on television kicking away a water bottle in pure frustration at the late equalising goal.

And afterwards Smith told the Oxford Mail: "Why we ended having the ball back there at that stage of the game, I don't know. It drives me round the bend.

"We talk about 'wind the clock down, wind the clock down' all the time and we still go and do it.

"Hopefully we'll learn from that tonight. Having said that, Barry Quinn says he was fouled in the lead-up to the goal as he attempted to clear the ball.

"That's probably why he mis-cleared.

"But I don't know why Sloma was free in the box, and it's maybe being a bit harsh, but I thought the keeper (Billy Turley) could have just stopped it.

"It went through his legs, I think."

The undeniable quality that the U's showed in the second half will no doubt stand them in good stead as they go into their final six games of the season looking to cement a play-off place.

The former Derby County boss continued: "We weren't ever going to win the league, if we'd won tonight,

"The second-half performance gave us a lot of encouragement for the future.

"Of late, Yemi's been playing extremely well, without finishing, and he took both his goals extremely well.

"Hopefully, he'll take that on, in terms of confidence.

"He was outstanding in the second half and he tore them apart."

With the title race all but over, Unired's players went out in the second half and gave it there all, it is now down to them, however, to seal a play-off spot.

Smith added: "There's a little bit of pressure for the play-offs, but there's no pressure for the championship and the lads knew that,

"That's why they went for it as well as they did in the second half."

Odubade, the two-goal hero, was as upset as anyone with the manner in which his side threw the points away.

The Nigerian said: "With just a few minutes to go . . . that's the story of our season really. We played so well to come from behind and get the two goals.

"It's just heartbreaking, but Wembley here we come!"

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